Oman has put on a spectacular welcome for young sailors from 21 nations at the opening ceremony of 2019 Asian and Oceanian Championship.
Al Mussanah Sports City is the venue for the International Optimist Dinghy Association’s (IODA) prestigious showcase event, which will see a week of high-intensity racing featuring 141 of the world’s best youth sailors. The regional Optimist Asian & Oceanian Championship includes large contingents from Australia, Bahrain, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the UAE, competing against a 16-strong Oman team, as well as teams from, Brazil, Finland, Turkey, the the US.
At Tuesday’s opening ceremony the national teams paraded and were then presented on stage in front of VIPs, the sailors’ coaches, family and friends, and guest of honour Maitha bint Saif al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism and chairwomen of championship host and organizer Oman Sail.
Held in the year Oman Sail celebrates its 10th anniversary, the high-profile Optimist Asian and Oceanian Championship confirms the Sultanate as a world-class venue for international sailing events having previously hosted the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, the Extreme Sailing Series, and Laser and windsurfing world championships.
Oman was awarded the Optimist Asian & Oceanian Championship by IODA in 2017 following a vote by 28 regional members of the international organization.
Oman Sail CEO David Graham said: “Many Olympians and medallists have sailed in these waters, dreams have come true in these waters, and to have another prestigious international event here, where dreams will be realized again, at this wonderful facility in Al Mussanah, is an honor for us.”
Speaking directly to the 141 Optimist sailors he added: “Your sailing careers are at the very start and you are on a great path. A very high percentage of the sailors in America’s Cup, Olympics, the Ocean Race, gained their base skills in the Optimist class.