Abu Dhabi: The UAE team will be put to test as they take on the world’s best at the 2023 Optimist Asian and Oceanian Championship next week in Abu Dhabi.
The nine-strong UAE team will share the stage with some of the top young sailing talent from around the world with over 170 competitors from 29 countries taking part in the week-long international regatta, which is being hosted in the UAE capital for the first time.
The event is organised and hosted by Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club in cooperation with the UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation, the Asian Sailing Federation, and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, which hosted an official press conference at its headquarters recently.
Sponsored by Abu Dhabi Ports and Al Mariah Bank, the regatta will feature five days of competitive sailing getting under way on Tuesday.
The event is the continental championship for Asian and Oceanian nation members of the International Optimist Dinghy Association, which oversees the fundamental class in the world of sailing for the 7 to 15 year age group, and is marking its 50th anniversary.
Thousands of spectators
Salem Al Rumaithi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club, said that the regatta is expected to attract thousands of spectators to the Abu Dhabi Corniche, which provides a perfect viewing platform for the racing.
He said the staging of the event in Abu Dhabi was the culmination of years of preparation and successful bidding, and supports ADMSC’s commitment to the staging of sustainable water sports events. “We are now reaping the fruits of all the hard work that has been done,” he said.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, President of the Emirates Modern Sailing and Rowing Federation, said the staging of the regatta again underlines Abu Dhabi’s status as world-class sailing and all-round water sport destination.
It also adds to the long line of water sport events, from sailing to wakeboarding, which have been hosted over the years by ADMSC, the home to Team Abu Dhabi, winners of 17 world powerboat championship titles in the last eight years.
The UAE team competing in the regatta consists of Saif Alzaabi, Omar Qandil, Abdulah Al Zabidi, Abdelrahman Albahri, Khalifa Al Romaithi, Mayed Al Ali, Mediya Alneyadi, Kornelia Pajak and Simeon Hristov.
In addition to the host country, the event has attracted teams from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bahrain, Britain, China, Cyprus, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Libya, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taipei, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey and USA.