Oman’s leading Olympic hopeful, Waleed Al Kindi, delivered a strong performance in difficult conditions at the Delta Lloyd Regatta, held in Medemblik, The Netherlands, recently

Campaigning in the RS:X Men windsurfer class to be part of Oman Sail’s first ever Olympic squad at the Tokyo 2020 Games, Waleed Al Kindi, one of Oman’s Olympic hopefuls, posted two top-20 finishes – including an 11th place – in a highly competitive fleet. A steady competitor in the top half of a world-class fleet on the upwind legs, Al Kindi acknowledged that more work on his technique is needed to maintain his speed and position when racing downwind.

“It has been a great two weeks in Medemblik, though at the beginning I had to get used to the strong wind and cold conditions that we don’t get too much of in Oman,” said Al Kindi, who is widely regarded as the Sultanate’s best windsurfer. “Having the chance to race, work and train with bigger groups than I am used to at home will help me with my technique and speed,” he noted.

Racing on the very large Ijsselmeer artificial lake north of Amsterdam, Al Kindi finished the regatta in 28th place. Also with an eye on qualifying for the 2020 Olympics, the 49er dinghy pairing of Musab Al Hadi and Hashim Al Rashdi saw their Medemblik regatta come to a premature end after an injury to Al Rashdi’s ankle meant they were unable to continue.

The injury appears to have initially resulted from a capsize, a couple of weeks earlier, when the Omani pair were practicing in the high-performance Olympic class skiff, which requires almost constant work while balanced on ‘wings’ and a trapeze wire. Their regatta started well with a 19th place in the first race, held in conditions that saw the wind gusting up to 20 knots. In the second race they capsized while rounding a mark in 11th place. Further capsizes followed and the duo decided to call a halt before the injury became any worse.

“It is difficult to race a 49er in 18 knots of wind and choppy sea with only one fully operational foot!” said Al Rashdi following their retirement. “It’s a pity because we had a very good performance in the first race, and we had been doing well in light wind training races against the German and Portuguese teams who finished the regatta first, second and third overall.”

Both he and Al Hadi are graduates from the innovative Oman Sail initiative that aims to harness the power of sport for social and economic development. They have previously raced together on F18s (14th out of 160 boats in 2013 at F18 World Championship) and the Extreme Sailing Series 2012 winner The Wave, Muscat.

 

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