A total of 120 sailors in the age-group of eight to 15 years from 19 countries are expected to take part in the forthcoming Musannah Race Week (MRW), organised by the Oman Sail, at the Musannah Sports City from January 18-24.

The 2015 edition has been revamped and will witness the participation of world-class sailors competing for the top honours in the inaugural Optimist Champions League during the MRW.

A strong field is expected to feature at the regatta and will include Thailand’s Voravong Rachrattanaruk, regarded as the best Optimist sailor in the world, and top girl sailor Jodie Lai, who will be heading Singapore’s 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 circuit, will line up against champions from Europe, Asia, South America and Africa to form an impressive international contingent of 68 representatives.

Around 45 of Oman’s finest sailors, including members of national youth squad and a select few from Omantel Youth Programme will compete with the international competitors.

Rashid al Kindi, Oman Sail’s national teams manager, hailed the MSW’s new format. “The benefits of hosting an Optimist Champions League during the MSW are considerable for 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.”

Salma al Hashmi, Oman Sail’s director of events and marketing, said, “We wanted a competition where we could get the champions from the different countries race against each other. This is how the idea of an Optimist Champions League came up. Though unofficial, it will give a good platform for our young sailing talent to compete with the best.”