Mohammed Al Balushi is selected to represent Oman at Youth Olympic Games
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 7:20 PM
The announcement – celebrated at Oman Sail’s HQ in Al Mouj Muscat – is a milestone for the organisation as it approaches its 10th anniversary, marking a significant moment in its long-standing mission to secure qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games.
Al Balushi earned his place in Argentina following an in-depth selection process which this year saw youth squad sailors compete at their first ever Asian Windsurfing Championships, and then take top-10 finishes at the Techno 293+ European Championships in Sicily.
The final decision was made from a shortlist of three youth squad teammates – Omar Al Qartoubi, Mohammed Al Balushi and Ali Al Omrani – following an international regatta in Poland, three training camps in Masirah, and the Techno 293+ World Championships in Latvia earlier this month.
“Mohammed’s selection for the Youth Olympic Games is the result of a huge amount of dedication and hard work by the team,” said David Graham, Oman Sail CEO.
“Every member of the youth squad has contributed to this great achievement and I would also like to pay tribute to the dedication and expertise of the coaches and support staff who have all made this possible.
“It is an historic moment for both Oman Sail and the whole country,” he added. “Almost 10 years ago Oman Sail was established with the goals of reasserting the Sultanate’s maritime heritage and sending a sailor to the Olympic Games, and this is a significant milestone on that journey that we can all be proud of.”
Oman Sail was set up in 2008 with a Youth Windsurf Programme starting at the Mussanah sailing centre in 2015. A national windsurf team took part in its first international event in 2016, followed by places at the Youth World and European Championships in 2017.
Born in 2003, Mohammed Al Balushi joined the windsurf youth programme in 2014. On his journey to selection he took part in a number of international championships such as the World Championships and European Championships in 2017 and European Championships and Asian Championships this year.
At the recent World Championships in Latvia he was placed 19th in a 35-strong fleet of competitive international sailors.
Oman earned its spot at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) when it was awarded a special ‘universality place’ in recognition of the youth team’s impressive performances at international YOG qualifying regattas since 2016.
Announced by World Sailing, yacht racing’s global governing body, universality places are awarded by the International Olympic Committee only to athletes meeting the required technical and eligibility criteria.
Under Olympic rules countries are limited to a single place in each sailing category. The final selection decision for Buenos Aires was made by Oman Sail youth squad coaches and managers – including Windsurfing National Coach Sultan Al Balushi.