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‘Future bright’ as Oman Sail wins honour at World Sailing Awards

31 Oct 2019

World Sailing, the global sailing governing body, honoured Oman Sail with the prestigious 2019 President’s Development Award at a glittering World 

Sailing Awards ceremony held in Bermuda on Tuesday. 

The President’s Development Award is awarded to those individuals or organisations who strive to develop and grow the sport on a national or international basis. The World Sailing President, Kim Andersen, presented the award to the Oman Sail CEO,  David Graham.

Commenting at the ceremony on Oman Sail, Andersen said, “Over the last ten year’s Oman Sail has taken a huge step forward in growing the sport. They have grown from nothing to 200 people tirelessly working across multiple pillars of our sport including coaching, officiating, media, governance and event management.

“Their youth programme has enabled youth sailors to move through the ranks and their sailors now have realistic goals of reaching Tokyo 2020. 

“Furthermore, barriers to participation have been shattered and mixed sailing has become the norm in a previously passive nation.”

After receiving the award, Graham said, “This award is a result of a collective effort from teams both on and off the water. I would like to thank the government of Oman, in particular, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Sport Affairs, for the unwavering support to Oman Sail over the past decade. 

“The future of sailing in Oman looks exceptionally bright. As we cheer on Musab al Hadi and Waleed al Kindi as they strive for Olympic selection, we also applaud the hundreds of schoolchildren who are out on the water every week, learning more about the sport we love at the four sailing schools which now exist across Oman. 

“The sailing schools are run by Omanis, with the development of Omani nationals who are incredibly competent in the sailing.”

He added, “Oman Sail offers equal-opportunities and we are proud to have the only all-women’s team in the GCC region.”

H E Maitha al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism and chairwoman of Oman Sail, said, “The vision of Oman Sail is, and always has been, to reinstate the maritime eminence of Oman. 

“It’s an honour to receive such an accolade, and I congratulate David [Graham] and the team. 

“We dedicate this award to His Majesty Qaboos bin Said al Said; it was his foresight and vision which made all this possible.”

Over the last ten years, Oman Sail’s mission has been to make the sport of sailing accessible, educational, and a source of immense national pride. 

In 2009, Oman Sail started the process of bringing this vision to life, embarking on a remarkable decade and achieving some extraordinary milestones.

Oman Sail has continously propelled the sultanate into the yachting limelight, whether it be from hosting high-profile global events such as America’s Cup World Series, Laser worlds, the RS:X World Championships, participating in the Route de Rhum and Extreme Sailing Series, or providing opportunities for local talent. 

In Oman Sail’s inaugural year, Mohsin al Busaidi became the first Omani to circumnavigate the globe, while 2020 could see the first Omanis to compete on the Olympic stage, with 49er pair Hadi and Kindi in serious contention for a spot in the Tokyo Games with the final Asian qualifiers in March.

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