The third day of racing at the 2022 RS Venture Connect World Championships organised by Oman Sail brought with it yet more exceptional sailing and many more surprises.

Oman’s Sultan Al Wahaibi and Ahmed Al Balushi lead the Open category, accruing one win and one second place finish from today’s races and staying one point ahead of Genevieve Wickham and Grant Alderson of Australia, and three points ahead of Clementine Gorisse and Lucien Bermont of France.

Piotr Cichcoki and Olga Gornas-Grudzien of Poland shone on day three, scoring a win and a second place to lead the Para category by seven points from Sweden’s Fia Fjelddahl and Patric Rosenberg. Ange Margaron and Olivier Ducruix of France are in third, just one point back from second, and fourth to 10th are separated by just five points in a close fleet.

Malik Al Qartobi and Ghalya Al Jabri currently sit in joint 12th position, seven points behind the medal placings. Zaher Al Atbi and Ali Al Ghasaini are in 18th place after struggling with a disqualification earlier in the week, Hassan Al Lawati and Sami Al Sulaimi two points back in 20th. Rayyan Al Mujaini and Hamed Al Subhi also encountered problems following a premature start, ending the fleet racing in 22nd, and Adil Al Siyabi and Nasser Al Rahbi finished in 25th.

Dan Jaspers, International Business Development at RS Sailing, said, “This is the first time we have held an RS Venture Connect event outside of Europe, and this decision has paid off with an increase in participating teams. As a venue, as a destination, the Barceló Mussanah Resort has proved very popular with sailors, and indeed their families. Having everything so close in one venue is amazing for the competition and the feedback has been excellent. The dedicated team at Oman Sail has been incredible and very helpful in managing the event, ensuring we can tune the arrangements to the changing day-to-day needs of sailors.”

“There is a great legacy to this event and the SailFree program is a real credit to Oman Sail, bp Oman and the Oman Paralympic Committee. The performance of the sailors so far this week is something the whole of Oman should be very proud of. Oman is a key location for the RS class and we see this as a hub for growing inclusive sailing across Asia, especially with the #BacktheBid and #SailtoLA campaign from World Sailing to reinstate sailing to the paralympics. Being able to increase the number of nations competing in the RS class in a venue where equipment can be supplied really helps to attract more teams, and this event has had the most participating nations of any para class event in the last two years.”

An exhibition featuring representatives of SMEs owned by people with disabilities kicked off today and will be present for the remainder of the championships, showing the innovation and creativity of people across Oman who have started their own business.

Athletes and coaches also took part in a special celebration in honour of Oman National Day, held under the patronage of HH Sayyida Hujaija Al Said, Chair of the Association for the Welfare of Handicapped Children.

Racing continues tomorrow when the Group Finals get underway ahead of the Grand Finals on Sunday. In total, there are 36 teams and representing 18 nations at the 2022 RS Venture Connect World Championships, the first exclusively para sailing event to take place in Oman.

The RS Venture Connect World Championships is supported by bp Oman, the Oman Paralympic Committee, Oman Maritime Sports Committee, Oman Air, the Barceló Mussanah Resort, Tanuf, the International Maritime College Oman (IMCO), RS Sailing, and environmental partners Clean Seas and Environment Society of Oman (ESO).