Oman Sail’s ‘performance pathway’ programme, designed to produce sailing champions in the future, was given a boost last week when 14 talented beginners and two young coaches had their first taste of international competition at the 2015 ASAF Youth Cup in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

As part of Oman Sail’s youth programme, the novice optimist sailors, all aged 13 or under, travelled to Abu Dhabi to compete alongside other young optimist sailors from across Asia, including the highly-rated Malaysian

national optimist squad.

Oman’s young team was drawn from three of Oman Sail’s sailing schools at The Wave, Muscat, Sur and Musannah, while Suleiman al Wahabi, a coach at The Wave, Muscat, and Rashid al Mugharfi from Sur formed the coaching team, which was headed by Sultan al Zadjali.

Six days of sailing, including a training day, in conditions that ranged from moderate winds to light breeze, was completed with around 60 sailors participating.

The experience proved to be invaluable, according to Abdul Aziz al Shidi, Oman Sail’s youth pathway coach, who joined the group after a successful outing at the 2015 Asian Beach Games in Doha, Qatar. “We wanted to give our sailors and coaches some exposure to what it was like to be members of a national team, travelling to an event overseas, setting up boats and getting used to different conditions,” he said.

“This was not about results. It was more to do with preparing them for international competition, showing them what the good sailors and coaches from other countries put in place in order to succeed. They can now take those lessons back to our sailing schools in Oman.”

Shidi added, “It has been a valuable experience, we had good response from everyone.”

SOURCE: Muscat Daily