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Open Championship kicks off in Millennium Resort Mussanah

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Mussanah Open Championship kicks off as Olympic hopefuls look to book their place in Tokyo
Mussanah Open Championship kicks off as Olympic hopefuls look to book their place in Tokyo

Sailors from across Africa, Asia and Europe have convened at the Millennium Resort Mussanah for the start of the Mussanah Open Championship. Over the next week, 102 sailors from 17 countries will compete in 49er, 49er FX, Laser, Laser Radial and RS:X classes where the African and Asian sailors will be looking to secure their place at this year’s long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the final qualification event before the Games.

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International race management officials selected by the Asian Sailing Federation (ASAF) will join their counterparts from Oman Sail, organisers of the event, on Saturday 3 April for the first day of competitive sailing with clear skies expected and an average temperature of 31c with wind of 12 knots providing perfect conditions on the first day.

Rashid Al Kindi, Director of Sailing at Oman Sail, said, “We are delighted to welcome a strong fleet to sail in Oman and we’re confident of a very high level of competition. Conditions in Mussanah are great and with such high stakes, we know the sailors will be able to perform at their peak. The competitors in each class are evenly matched, so it will be all about small gains on each day and fine margins will decide who qualifies for Tokyo 2020.”

Two of Oman’s own national teams are also competing this week. The 49er Olympic team of Musab Al Hadi, Waleed Al Kindi, Abdul Rahman Al Mashari and Ahmed Al Hasni are chasing Olympic qualification for the first time, and Abdul Majeed Al Hadrami, Faisal Al Qutaiti and Al Mukhtar Al Mujaini will be eager to perform well in the RS:X class on home waters.

The Mussanah Open Championship was allocated Olympic qualification status by World Sailing to substitute for postponed events throughout 2020 and allow sailors the opportunity to confirm their spot in a safe and competitive environment. Everyone involved has been tested upon arrival and regularly throughout to create a secure bubble and allow the event to go ahead.

Ajay Narang, Chair of the ASAF Events Committee, said, “It has been very challenging for everybody to organise an event during this period but the organisation has put systems in place to make sure that sailors are safe and able to compete to qualify for the Olympics. Despite the challenges everybody has gone through, there has been thorough testing at every stage to ensure the safety of the sailors, coaches and officials so that the event can happen. We are very grateful to Oman Sail for organising this event in such a short timeframe and making sure the event is successful.”

All sailors, coaches and onsite management staff have passed rigorous COVID-19 safety procedures in order to enter Oman and will remain within race partners Millennium Resort Mussanah for the duration of the event. Also supporting the event is the International Maritime College Oman (IMCO), Salsabeel water from National mineral water company, Carrefour Oman and OHI Telecommunications.

The first day offered sailors an opportunity to warm up with an official practice race in preparation for the start of official racing the following day. Racing will then take place each day through until Thursday 8 April where the winners will receive their prizes and the closing ceremony will bring the extended qualification period to an end.

Mussanah Open Championship kicks off as Olympic hopefuls look to book their place in Tokyo
Mussanah Open Championship kicks off as Olympic hopefuls look to book their place in Tokyo

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