by Oman Sail
Al-Mussanah Sports City is making preparations for the Laser World Championships 2013. The 4.2m long Laser singlehanded dinghy is one of the world’s most prolific sailing boats with more than 250,000 having been built, but is best known for being one of the premier sailing classes included in the Olympic Games. Most of the world’s best sailors have at some point in their careers campaigned a Laser, most notably multiple Olympic medallists Ben Ainslie and Robert Scheidt and winning America’s Cup helmsman Ed Baird.
The World Championships held here in Oman will be three separate events:
• Laser Senior World Championship over 14th November 2013 - 23rd November 2013
• Laser Masters' World Championship 2013 over 28th November 2013 - 7th December 2013
• Laser Radial Youth World Championship 2013 over 27th December 2013 - 3rd January 2014
The Youth World Championship is open to competitors aged 17-21, the Masters to those over the age of 35, further sub-divided into age bands (eg 35-44 Apprentice, 45-54 Master, 55+ Grand Master). But the most competitive of the three is the Laser Senior World Championship and it will be this that features many sailing stars from the Olympic Games. The line-up is expected to include renowned Olympic medallists. Kontides, 22, is very much an inspirational figure both in his own country and abroad; he is the only person from Cyprus ever to have won an Olympic medal, not just sailing, but across any sport.
Combined, the Laser World Championships are expected to attract more than 1,000 visitors from at least 50 nations.
The bid to host the Laser World Championships was won in June 2012 and with it came the responsibility of creating the logo for these three events, the guideline being to incorporate the Laser class logo.
'We saw this exercise as a great opportunity to highlight the country,' says Salma al Hashmi, Oman Sail’s Director of Marketing and Communications. 'We wanted a seamless fit between the Laser logo and the new one, hence the use of the colour red. However we introduced the use of a deeper maroon to compliment to a colour commonly used in Omani handicrafts. Because the logo was going to introduce an international audience to the country, we combined the sport [the sails] with the heritage and culture of the country and used imagery of forts.'
While it is best known for being used for elite level competition in the Olympic Games, the Laser is a highly versatile dinghy and versions with a smaller sail, notably the Laser 4.7 and the Laser Radial, are widely used around the world, including Oman, for training purposes.
In years to come, the intention is for Oman’s top Laser sailors to campaign their boats internationally with the aim of the best gaining Oman its first berth in the Olympic Games. Having top Laser sailors from around the world visiting Oman will unquestionably serve to inspire the country’s up-and-coming sailors.
The Omani youth sailors are being coached by Oman Sail and are showing a great promise. Oman Sail aims to establish an elite National Youth Squad by February 2013 to compete at international level. The long term plan being for an Omani youth team to participate in the Youth Olympics in 2014, for a team to finish in the top 50 per cent of the fleet at the 2015 Optimist World Championships, in the top 50 per cent of the fleet at the 2018 Youth Olympics and in the top 20 per cent of the fleet at the 2020 ISAF Youth World Championships and ultimately winning a medal for the Sultanate in the 2024 Olympic Games.
The Laser World Championships will also provide the visiting sailors arriving from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and the USA with an opportunity to experience the Al-Musannah Sport City, the impressive one million square metre venue situated on the coast of the Wilayat of Al Musannah, purpose built to host the 2010 Asian Beach Games.
His Excellency Mohammed Jawad, advisor at the Ministry of Finance and Oman Sail’s board member concludes: 'Sailing has always been associated with Oman's historic identity. The sport has seen significant development in the past recent years and bringing the Laser World Championships shows the country's commitment to the sport of sailing.'
'The World Championship is great opportunity to attract some of the world’s best athletes, officials and media to visit Oman and experience the state of art facilities at Mussanah Sport City. This will not only help promote Oman as a destination but rather add both economical and social benefits to the Sultanate and this is in line with our country's strategy in hosting world class sport events while engaging the Omani youth in sports.'
Oman Sail CEO David Graham concludes: 'The Laser World Championships are an opportunity to inspire the youth, as well as showcase Oman in all its natural beauty to an international audience through sport, aligning perfectly with Oman Sail’s strategy.'
What if Oman shores could speak? Watch the English version of the Laser World Championships 2013 promotional
Oman Sail website