Muscat – Oman finished third at the International Suleymanpaşa Optimist Cup in Tekirdag, Turkey. In a competition dominated by sailors from the host nation, winners of the Country Cup, and neighbouring Bulgaria who finished as runners up, Oman Sail’s team competed well and Mohsin al Busaidi, Head of Performance, took away many positives from the experience.
Competition featured two categories. One for sailors under the age of 10, and one for sailors aged 10-18 years. In the junior competition silver fleet, Habib bin Aziz al Hassani finished 48th out of 75, and one of just three non-Turkish sailors in the top 50. Harib bin Mohsin al Busaidi finished 13th in the bronze fleet out of 75 and the only visiting sailor in the race.
The senior competition gold fleet featured 66 sailors, the vast majority of whom were from the host nation. Oman Sail’s five competitors showed promise but were left trailing by the more experienced Turkish and Bulgarian sailors. Tameem bin Sulaiman al Balushi was the highest ranked Omani sailor in 25th place, followed by Feras bin Haitham al Nabhani in 46th, Abdul Rahman bin Khalid Al Hadi in 50th, Hassan bin Nasser al Wahaibi in 52nd and Soud bin Talib al Shaqsi in 62nd.
The silver fleet comprised 65 sailors, including 58 from across Turkey. Hassan bin Mohsin al Oraimi led the Omani team in 22nd place, followed by Khamis bin Nasser al Mashaikhi in 26th. The two female sailors in the team Tarteel bint Zaid al Hassani and Hadeel bint Yousuf al Mushafri finished 43rd and 60th respectively.
Mohsin al Busaidi, Oman Sail Head of Performance, said, “This was a tough challenge against sailors far more experienced and familiar with the environment, but that provides opportunities for our team to learn and that is our goal at this stage. The more exposure our team receives, the better they will become and by racing against their peers from other nations we are able to incorporate real-life scenarios into training. We would always like to rank as high as possible, but the long-term goal is to develop the sailors and events like this serve as short-term progress checks for the whole team.”
Held at the Tekirdag Sailing Club on northern coast of Turkey’s Sea of Marmara, the competition featured over 400 sailors from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Kuwait, Thailand and Malaysia, as well as hosts Turkey and Oman.
The team was led by Ghalib al Mamari, sailing coach at Oman Sail, and supported by coach Sultan al Zadjali and assistants Jasim al Harbi and Hajir al Amrani.
The optimist team will return to Turkiye in next month for the 11th Erk Celik Halat Bodrum International Optimist Regatta in Bodrum from October 10-15. They will then compete on home waters at the Mussanah Race Week from October 18-24 before heading to Abu Dhabi for the 2023 IODA Optimist Asian & Oceanian Championship from October 29 to November 5.