Omani sailors impress at Musannah Race Week

MUSANNAH: Young Omani sailors produced impressive performances at Musannah Race Week with a win or a podium place finish in every class. The 10th edition of the region’s largest international youth sailing event saw 121 sailors representing 13 countries gather at the world-class Musannah Sports City venue for seven days of intensive coaching and international standard racing. This year, the top level event also incorporated the high-profile 2020 Techno Asian Championships, with windsurfers travelling from Asia to compete.
When racing finished on Sunday the celebratory prize-giving ceremony recognised the achievements of some of the world’s best youth sailors, under the auspices of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Saadi, Majlis Ash’shura Representative in Musannah. He stressed the importance of this annual event in promoting sailing amongst the youth in the region and encouraging more young Omanis to compete at higher levels, “It was a pleasure to see so many young sailors enjoying our beautiful country, particularly the young Omani sailors who excelled in every class. Congratulations to all the winners”.
The results in the Laser 4.7 class saw Oman’s Al Motasem al Farsi take four race wins on his way to first place ahead of Norway’s Erick Boen and Ali Ahmad from Kuwait. UAE sailor Dhuha was the top girl.
The 53-strong Optimist class —the largest fleet out on the water off Musannah Sports City — was won by the UAE’s Othman Ak, with Thai Optimist champion Weka Bhanubandh second and Oman racer Elyas al Fadhali also winning a place on the podium.
The Junior Optimist category was won by Turkish sailor Tayfun Turk, ahead of the UAE’s Saif and Oman’s Tamim al Balushi. The Turkey team also shone in the girls classification with Ege Naz Aydin and Deniz Ozgun leading the way ahead of Norway’s Emilie Nilsen.
And further demonstrating the international appeal of Musannah Race Week the Laser Radial class was headed by another member of Norway’s strong team, Tobias Birkeland, who finished just ahead of Oman’s Abdul Malik al Hinai, with Bahrain’s Dawood Abdulla third.
Young racing sailors from Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Qatar were also among those competing in the usual ideal winter sailing conditions offered in Oman.
“As ever Musannah Race Week offers an unrivalled opportunity for young sailors to come together, develop and test their skills, and take part in friendly but competitive racing against their peers from around the world,” said Rashid al Kindi, Director of Sailing at the event’s organiser Oman Sail.
“This year has been no exception and it has again been a great pleasure to welcome so many visiting sailors to Oman. We hope they have enjoyed the experience and taken some real benefits from the expert coaching and exhilarating racing we have been able to offer’’.
The 2020 Techno Asian Championships — which also attracted windsurfer racers from Japan, Hong Kong and Taipei — saw some intensive racing. Oman’s Ali al Sarhi won the Techno 293 Youth class ahead of Hong Kong’s Yuk Kiu Yukie Fung — who was also the top girl —and Omani team-mate Abdulrahman al Mujaini.
The Techno 293 Plus Youth category was won by Asgar Kikabhoy from Hong Kong ahead of Oman’s Ali al Omrani and Abdullah al Sahri, with Abdulmajeed al Hadrami winning the Open category.
Windsurfing enthusiasts were also able to witness a special showcase for the Starboard iQFoil — the official windsurfer for the 2024 Paris Games — with star Argentinian coach Gonzalo Costa Hoevel, the 2018 Professional Windsurfers Association’s (PWA) Foil World Champion, leading demonstrations and training sessions.
At the event, the Asian Techno class representative, Piotr Oleksiak, said: “Being part of Musannah Race Week has been a fantastic experience and all the competitors and coaches would like to thank Oman Sail and Musannah Sports City for making it possible. “The conditions here in Oman are excellent and the coaching opportunities and the well organised racing have been exceptional’’.
As part of Musannah Race Week three days of world class coaching, both on and off the water, were followed by four days of competitive racing.