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Welcome to Mussanah Race Week 2015

 

On January 18-24th, the best and most accomplished Optimist sailors in the world will come to the shores of Oman to compete in Mussanah Race Week 2015. The unique event will provide an opportunity for international sailors to experience the beautiful sailing environment of the Sultanate of Oman and learn about different cultures through customized team building programmes that will develop soft skills outside of sailing and overcome language barriers to create friendships that will last a lifetime.

“Mussanah Race Week is set to be a huge success, the list of competitors includes a host of world championship holders, Olympic medalists and national champions, with such a line up the level of competition will be high. I am looking forward to a top quality event, in a great location”
- Paul Goodison, Olympic gold medalist

Six young Omanis qualify for gold fleet with world’s leading Optimist sailors in Mussanah Race Week

Six young Omani sailors between the ages of 8-15 have qualified in the top fleet at Oman Sail’s Mussanah Race Week 2015 after the first two days of racing were dominated by the world’s foremost Optimist sailors. By the end of six races on Thursday, contested by 112 sailors representing 19 countries, the largest Optimist fleet ever to be hosted in Asia outside the official International Optimist Dinghy Association championships, the fleet was divided into a gold and silver fleet with six of Oman’s contingent of 39 fledgling sailors flying the Sultanate’s flag in the gold fleet and gunning for overall victory.

This year’s edition of Mussanah Race Week takes place over seven days and includes both indoor and outdoor activities aimed at equipping the young sailors with valuable team building and communications skills and providing them with quality racing. Amongst the contestants are sailors from Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Great Britain, Germany, Malaysia, Mozambique, Norway, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Singapore and Switzerland.

The young sailors from the Omani National Squad, selected from the Omantel Youth Programme, have demonstrated exceptional performances. Marwan Khalifa Al Jabri, aged 14, was the leading Omani with two top 10 results while Oman’s first ever Optimist National Champion Zakariya Suleiman Al Wahabi posted the best result of the week so far with a sixth place on Wednesday. Top Omani girl sailor Samiha Al Riyami had also qualified and like her teammates will now focus her efforts over the remaining two days on claiming one of five Omani squad places up for grabs for the upcoming GCC Championships.

At the top of the overall leaderboard is Muhammad Fauzi Shah from Malaysia who is dominating the race track with five wins from six races while Singapore’s Daniel Ian Toh and Jodie Lai are close behind, all three visitors enjoying the light shifty winds in Mussanah and the superb conditions.

The level of racing has been impressive but everyone, especially the less experienced Omani sailors were benefitting from their participation, said Abdul Aziz Al Shidi, Oman Sail's Youth Pathway Coach.

“The Omani youngsters are improving fast and absorbing the entire experience through their contact with other sailors both on the race track and in the boat park. Everyone is racing at a different level so for Zakariya and Samiha, for example, it is an opportunity for fine tuning and copying specific techniques.

“Our sailing school sailors on the other hand who have only ever competed in ranking events here in Oman, get to see that the Omani sailors who are leaders in the ranking events are not the leaders in the world because there are sailors here who are much better.

“They also see sailors of different sizes and nationalities with different habits and customs but understand that they are the same. They are all here to enjoy their shared passion for sailing, share their different points of view and have a good time. So everyone in benefitting irrespective of the level they are performing at.”

The young sailors, their coaches and parents were clearly relishing the conditions at Mussanah, added Al Shidi.

“The feedback from the sailors and coaches about the facilities and conditions here in Mussanah has been superb. The management of the event both off and on the water as well as the accommodation has been applauded which bodes very well for our chances of hosting big international events such as an IODA championship in the future.”

Racing in the gold and silver fleet continues through until Saturday with a grand prize-giving ceremony set to bring the curtain down on Mussanah race Week 2015 after racing on Saturday.

Oman Sail welcomes world's best Optimist sailors to Mussanah Race Week

Oman Sail welcomed around 112 young sailors from across the world to Mussanah Race Week 2015 today for a week of training and racing at the launch of the first ever Optimist Class Champions League in Mussanah. Flying in from as far afield as Europe, Asia, South America and Africa, the youngsters who are all Optimist Champions in their regions spent their first day settling in to Mussanah Sports City, getting to know fellow competitors and easing into their Optimist Champions League campaigns with an opening coaching session.

 

Among them are 39 of Oman’s best young home grown sailors, including members of Omani National Youth Squad and selected others from Oman Sail’s Omantel Youth Programme. They include Samiha Al Riyami, one of around 25 girls competing alongside the boys on the race track from Tuesday to Saturday and taking part in the specially developed Corporate Personal Development activities, designed to equip young sailors for successful sporting careers.

 

In between racing and training, there will be a host of ice breaker activities, including an Arabian Night on 22nd January where camel owners and breeders across Oman will exhibit their best stock in a camel beauty contest for the best pure–bred camels in the Sultanate. There will also be opportunities to experience Camel rides and watch Omani traditional dance performed by professional dancers while a group of Omani handicraft specialists will display traditional ways of making handicraft items that are specific items to Mussanah.

 

Visitors will be offered Omani Coffee (Qahwa), Halwa and dates as an example of the warm Omani hospitality and there will be plenty of traditional Omani Turbans (Masaar) available to wear and plenty of assistance available in how to wear them.

 

Salma Al Hashmi, Oman Sail’s Director of Marketing and Events, welcomed the youngsters, their coaches and parents to Mussanah and wished them all ‘fair winds’ for an excellent contest. “We are excited to welcome the world's leading Optimist sailors to Oman, especially to the Mussanah Sports City. This is an exciting opportunity to continue the legacy of the facilities in Mussanah, contribute to inbound tourism and allow our young Omani sailors to race against some of the best sailors in the world,” she said.

 

“We look forward to some excellent competition and hope the sailors enjoy the activities that will take place both on and off the water.”

 

The first three days of Mussanah Race Week will be spent in coaching and Corporate Personal Development activities before racing starts on Wednesday. The action continues through to Saturday when the event closes with a special prize-giving. 

Oman Sail gears up for a new-look Mussanah Race Week 2015

Oman Sail’s Mussanah Race Week 2015 will have a brand new look to it in 2015 when the focus shifts to Oman’s youth sailors by pitching them against champions from around the world in the first ever Optimist Class Champions League. Up to 120 young Optimist sailors between the ages of 8-15, parents and coaches, including the cream of Oman’s young sailing talent, will descend on Mussanah Sports City from January 18th to 24th for a week of training and competition.

 

A strong field will include some of the best young sailors in the class with the team from Thailand set to feature Voravong Rachrattanaruk, regarded as the best Optimist sailor in the world, and Singapore’s golden girl Jodie Lai, who will be heading up the talented squad that landed six medals at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea last September. Rising star Muhammad Fauzi Shah from Malaysia, one of the quickest sailors on the youth circuit, will line up against young champions from Europe, Asia, South America and Africa to form an impressive international contingent of 68 representatives.

 

Pitting their wits against this stellar talent will be around 45 of Oman’s finest young sailors, including members of Omani National Youth Squad and selected others from Oman Sail’s Omantel Youth Programme, co-sponsored by Oman Shipping Company, all benefitting from exposure to this high level of competition.

 

The athletes’ efforts will not just be confined to the racetrack, with a daily schedule expected to feature Corporate and Personal Development activities aimed at instilling leadership, teamwork and communications skills within the children. Participants will also take part in outdoor challenges, educational and self-empowerment exercises that will provide a practical learning experience and build a close camaraderie between the young sailors, as well as fuelling their appetite to pursue international sailing careers.

 

“We wanted a competition in Oman where the champions from the different continents raced against each other, so we had the idea for an unofficial Champions League which reflects our growing focus on developing Oman’s young sailing talent,” said Salma Al Hashmi, Director of Events and Marketing at Oman Sail, who has led the remodelling of Mussanah Race Week this year. “The idea is to have the best sailors in the world coming here to Oman and bringing the best coaches and strong back-up teams to follow their progress. We have been inundated with entry applications, so hopefully this demonstrates a level of interest that can be built on over the next few years.”

 

Speaking on the new format of the event, Rashid Al Kindi, Oman Sail's National Team Manager said, “The benefits of hosting an Optimist Champions League during Mussanah Race Week are considerable for both Oman and Oman’s young sailors. Our homegrown youngsters and their coaches will see how the different nationalities operate as teams, how they are coached and how they are inspired. It is also an opportunity for the top sailors in the world see the state-of-the-art facilities and ideal sailing conditions hat we have in Oman.”

 

“By restructuring this event, we are marking Oman out as a high quality venue for international sailing events which will allow Mussanah Race Week to grow further. Last year, we won acclaim for hosting the Laser World Championships and we need to work hard to build on that recognition.”

 

Registration for 2015 Mussanah Race Week is yet to close but so far competitors from 19 nations have entered, including: Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Great Britain, Germany, Malaysia, Mozambique, Norway, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Singapore and Switzerland. All teams will be based at the Millennium Resort Mussanah and the Mussanah Marina where Oman Sail has one of its four sailing schools.

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