by Rami Ayoob
At the 2012 Kingdom Match Race, Bahrain 'A' yesterday reached the semi-finals, being held at the Bahrain Sailing Club near Al Jazayer Beach in Zallaq. Skippered by Ebrahim Abdulla, the Bahrain team put on a splendid show on the third and last round of races to finish in the top four with seven wins in 10 races.
2012 Kingdom Match Race
Estonia, skippered by Mati Sepp, topped the first round winning all his 10 races. Behind him were two teams from Russia, skippered by Andrea Arbozov and Musikhin Sergey, in second and third places, respectively.
Abdulla, the upcoming Bahraini sailing star and one of the Middle East's best skippers, was assisted by his crew – Ahmed Al Na'ar, Abdulrahim Abdulla and Ahmed Abdulla.
'It has been a very tough and challenging event for us this year with some of the world's best sailors taking part,' said a delighted Abdulla after yesterday's racing action.
'In overall, me and my crew are so pleased to have made it to the last four and now we have to focus on our next races tomorrow, which will be more difficult for us to win'.
Bahrain's other team, skippered by Abdulla Janahi, were less fortunate as they narrowly missed a place in the semi-finals. The team includes Mustafa Janahi, Ebrahim Duaij and Abdulaziz Al Mahmeed.
Sepp, the former Bahrain event champion who stamped authority the first two days, continued to dominate the first round races skipper his four-member crew to top the first round with 100 per cent win record.
The Estonian, ranked 24th in the world which is the highest in the championship, was followed by two Russian skippers in second and third places.
Defending champions Russia 'A', guided by former championship winner and world 48th ranked skipper Arbozov, completed the first round with nine wins in 10 races.
He was followed by Russia 'B', skippered by world's 26th-ranked sailor Sergey, also came third with eight wins.
The organising committee, headed by Bahrain Maritime Sports Association (BMSA) president Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, was able to hold 24 races in total yesterday, including 16 in the morning session which started from 9.30am. The remaining eight took place in the afternoon.
Championship action continues today with the semi-finals, which this time features knock-out races. Winners of today's races will clash in the final tomorrow, the concluding day of the event.
Meanwhile, BMSA member Shaikh Mohammed bin Daij Al Khalifa said he was pleased with the overall progress witnessed by the Bahrain teams in this year's championship, being organised for the 10th time.
He also hailed the level of competition with world-class teams from Estonia and Russia, who became familiar with racing environment in Bahrain and the race course at the club.
Shaikh Daij commended the support from the Bahrain Olympic Committee and the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association president Shaikh Khalifa to the championship, which marks the Kingdom's National Day celebrations and His Majesty King Hamad's accession to the throne.