Buenos Aires, Oman Sail’s first ever representative
at a Youth Olympic Games has started his racing campaign at the
high-profile international event in Argentina.
Mohammed Al Balushi is representing the Sultanate in the Techno
293+ windsurfer class and competing against young sailors from 23
other nations over several days of close competition.
In the opening race in Buenos Aires yesterday (October 7th) the
ground-breaking Omani youngster posted a strong 12th place finish in
what is a highly competitive fleet.
Aged 15, Al Balushi is the second youngest windsurfer taking part,
and is racing against sailors up to three years older in a class where
experience, sheer size and physicality can play an important role.
His selection for the Youth Olympic Games followed an in-depth
selection process this year which saw Oman Sail youth squad sailors
race at Asian, European and World championships. Al Balushi went to
the sailing venue at the Club Nautico San Isidro in Buenos Aires after
detailed preparation and training sessions with Oman Sail coaches.
Mohammed’s place at the Youth Olympic Games is a just reflection
of all the hard work he has put in to earning his place, and also of the
dedication and skill of the whole Oman Sail team who have created the
training and structure to make it all possible, said Rashid al-Kindi,
National Sailing Team Manager.
Born in 2003, Al Balushi joined the windsurf youth programme in
2014 and worked his way up to team selection for world and European
championships in 2017, and the European and Asian championships
earlier this year.
Oman’s historic involvement in the Youth Olympic Games was
announced by World Sailing, yacht racing’s global governing body,
with the Sultanate awarded a ‘universality place’ in recognition of the
Oman Sail youth team’s impressive performances at various qualifying
regattas since 2016.
One of the key figures in this process, Windsurfing National Coach
Sultan al-Balushi, said: The whole programme has been gradually
and quietly improving and a great many people have played important
parts in the progress that has taken us to the Youth Olympic Games.
It is a highly competitive regatta of course with the world’s best
young windsurfers all looking to do their best for themselves and their
countries. I have no doubt that Mohammed will be able to demonstrate
the skills and talent we all know he has, as well as gain extremely
valuable experience and learn a great deal from taking part.
Racing in the Techno 293+ windsurfer class is scheduled to
conclude with the final medal race on Friday, 12 October after as many
as 12 races.
Source: Oman News Agency