It was mission accomplished for Oman’s Olympic hopefuls Musab Al Hadi and Waleed Al Kindi as they hit their pre-event target at the conclusion of the 2020 World 49er Championship in Australia on Saturday.
The Oman Sail racing duo used the world championship as real world training against many of the world’s best sailors in preparation for the defining Tokyo Olympics qualifying event in Abu Dhabi next month.
To make history as Oman’s first ever Olympic Games sailing contenders Musab and Waleed must secure the final Asian area qualifying spot which will be decided at the Asian 49er Championship which starts on March 15th.
Realistically this means finishing ahead of highly competitive rivals such as those from Hong Kong and Thailand – a result they were able to deliver in Australia on a grey and breezy final day on Geelong’s Corio Bay.
Musab and Waleed finished two places and 11 points in front of the Hong Kong team of Akira Sakai and Russell Aylsworth, and Thailand’s Don and Dylan Whitcraft, with both finishing the event with 157 points.
The second Omani team of Ahmed Al Hasani and Abdulrahman Al Mashari left several international teams in their wake with a number of strong results on their way to 70th place overall.
Musab said: “Waleed and I knew what we wanted to do here in Australia, and it is a great feeling to have been able to reach our goal and finish ahead of the Hong Kong and Thailand teams.
“Racing against many of the world’s best sailors has been a great experience and is valuable training for the Asian 49er Championship where we will be going all out to win a sailing place for Oman at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“The whole team out here, Ahmed and Abdulrahman, and our coach Gwen Gbick, have all been great and very supportive. Now we come home and get ready for Abu Dhabi.”
The ultra-competitive World 49er Championship saw 78 teams from 27 countries in contention at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club in Victoria, Australia.
At the end of racing Rio Olympic Gold medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand won their sixth 49er world title ahead of the Spanish pair of Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra – who won the 2020 Oceania 49er Championship last week – with Germany’s Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel taking bronze.
The Omani 49er teams will now go on to join Oman Sail colleagues at a training camp in Abu Dhabi ahead of the Asian 49er Championship with racing from March 17th to 22nd.
As well as Hong Kong and Thailand, Musab and Waleed will also face competition for the remaining Asian area Olympic place from a number of other countries including India, China, Singapore and possibly Korea.