Muscat – Oman’s sailing squad has made a promising start to competition at the 2023 Pan Arab Games in Algeria, with five of the seven sailors in the top three places across all classes and two more performing strongly in a hotly-contested fleet.
Making the most of the ideal conditions and wind speeds of between 8-12 knots, Hassan Nasser al Wahaibi leads the Optimist, with teammates Tamim Suleiman al Balushi in second and Feras Haitham al Nabhabi in third. Just three points separates the top three at the top of the leaderboard. Soud Talib al Shaqsi is currently in fifth place, just two points behind fourth.
Oman’s Hatim Mohsin al Oreimi is currently third in the ILCA 4 competition, just five points behind the leader. Teammate Abdullatif Zaid al Qasmi ended the day in fifth, one point back and just six points from the top.
In the ILCA7, the impressive Abdulla Janahi of Bahrain leads the way with a perfect score from the six races so far. Oman’s Ahmed Hassan Al Balushi is currently in third place after he and Adil Khaled of the United Arab Emirates in second both encountered difficulties in the last race of the day.
The seven Omani sailors have joined over 3,800 athletes from 18 countries at the 15th edition of the Pan Arab Games. The team is trained by coaches Sultan Al Zadjali and Munther Al Kindi, and Abdulaziz Al Shidi has been selected to be part of the Technical Committee team alongside Nawaf Al Ghadani who is part of the Jury Committee Team for the event.
Commenting after the opening series of races, Sultan al Zadjali said, “We are very pleased with our performance so far. The team has started well and remains in contention for medals at the end of the week. We have a lot of work to do, and the fleet is strong, but we will do our best and see where we stand on the final day.”
Ahmed al Balushi, currently third in the ILCA7 competition, added, “I had been improving after the first race on day one and carried that into the second day, but then had a setback. Sport is about learning and getting better, and I will use this experience to be stronger tomorrow and finish as high as I can. It is a great honour to represent Oman and I want to do my best.”
As well as gaining invaluable competition experience, the Omani sailors are also in the middle of preparing for the Oman Sailing Championship in Ras Al Hadd from August 24-28, and this year’s Mussanah Race Week which will be held at Barceló Mussanah Resort from October 18-24.