Muscat, 3rd February 2020: Omani 49er team Musab Al Hadi and Waleed Al Kindi are showing strong signs while competing in Australia, as they build up for their Olympic qualification event next month. Just one more big test awaits Oman’s Olympic hopefuls Musab Al Hadi and Waleed Al Kindi ahead of next month’s qualification for Tokyo.
Musab and Waleed, who are the reigning Asian 49er Champions, are in line to become the first Omani sailors in history to qualify for the Olympic Games, with the pair to compete for the final Asian place on offer in Tokyo next month in Abu Dhabi.
The build-up to the historic campaign is going well, with Musab and Waleed currently in Geelong, Australia, with fellow Omani 49er team Ahmed Al Hasani and Abdulrahman Al Mashari. Both teams have just finished racing at the 2020 Oceania 49er Championship at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, the same venue that will host the 2020 World 49er Championship later this week.
Musab said: “The time here in Geelong has been invaluable in preparing for the Olympic qualification event next month. It really has been the perfect warm-up event.
“The conditions have been quite tricky but we definitely learnt a lot in the strong winds. The competition here is world class and it can only make us stronger as a team.”
The World Championship, which starts on Monday 10 February, will be the final event for Musab and Waleed before they attempt to both defend their gold medal and make Olympic history at the 2020 Asian Championship in Abu Dhabi in March.
To earn a place in Tokyo, Oman must be the highest placed Asian country behind Olympic host nation Japan at the Asian Championship. A technical issue with the jib on the final day of the Oceania Championship saw Musab and Waleed just fall short of this, with the pair finishing one place behind Thailand in the overall standings.
Waleed said: “It was disappointing not to be racing on the final day. We missed race 1 due to a technical problem with the jib and then once we were ready for the second race, the wind picked up to 30 knots and the race committee decided to abandon the races. We managed to spend some time out training in the conditions though which was really worthwhile.
“While the lack of racing meant we did miss out on finishing as the top Asian team behind Japan, there many learnings that we can take out of the week. The Thai team of Don and Dylan Whitcraft will also be competing at the World Championship later this week so that will be a great opportunity to try and finish on top ahead of the Asian Championships in Abu Dhabi.”
The 2020 49er World Championship in Australia will conclude on 15 February, with the Olympic qualifying Asian Championships to begin a month later in Abu Dhabi.