By: Ashok Purohit
Oman’s young and talented optimist sailors came up with a masterful performance to claim the gold in the team racing category at the IODA Optimist African Championship in the Algerian city of Oran on Tuesday.
The six-member team, comprising Ghassan al Hosni, Mohammed al Qasmi, Zakariya al Wahabi, Samiha al Riyami, Almotasem al Farsi and Marwan al Jabri, defeated Mozambique 3-1 in the final to clinch the top honours.
A total of 14 teams from 12 countries took part in the event with three teams entered by the hosts. The other nations participating were Tunisia, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Angola, Libya, South Africa, Tanzania and Seychelles.
Oman defeated Zimbabwe in its opening race and then got past Algeria-2, Algeria-1 and Mozambique in the successive rounds on its way to the title.
While Ghassan and Mohammed made their international debut, Samiha is the lone girl in the Omani squad.
Zakariya, Almotasem and Marwan are seasoned Optimist campaigners, having spent nearly three years in the class.
At the last edition in Agadir, Morocco, Oman had finished runner-up in the same competition, losing to Mozambique, and Marwan had come 24th in the fleet racing competition.
The squad arrived in Oran four days before the start of the championship for a training camp to get acclimatised to the conditions. Racing kicked off on October 2 and the strategy worked as the boys bettered their previous result in team racing.
The boys are accompanied by Abdulaziz al Shidi, the national optimist team coach.