Bahrain is all set to host the Optimist Asian Championships 2014, scheduled to commence on take place from March 31 at the Bahrain Sailing Club’s Al Jazayer Beach in Zallaq. More than 120 sailors from 21 started to arrive in Bahrain yesterday for the week-long event, organised by the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association under the authority of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA).
Among entries for this year’s edition are regional nations Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Oman and Bahrain, while other Arab countries in the fray are Morocco and Libya.Most of the remaining sailors will come from Asia – Australia, Taipei, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, in addition to entries from the US, Germany, Monaco and Turkey.New Zealand was the first delegation to touch on Bahrain, followed by Singapore, India and most recently Thailand. The remaining teams are on the way and should arrive by today.Hosts Bahrain, they will be spearheaded by 15 sailors, including six women members.
The organising committee, headed by BMSA president Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, has approved the programme of the championship.Following registration and measurement procedures today (March 29), the practice race, team leaders’ meeting and opening ceremony will take place tomorrow, to be held at the Lagoon at the heart of Amwaj Islands.
The racing action is due to begin on March 31, and will continue until April 5, when the finals and the closing ceremony will be staged at the Bahrain Sailing Club. It will be followed by the official teams’ departure on April 6. Races are scheduled with a maximum of four races per day, as the course for the fleet racing will be an outer-loop trapezoid with the finish line at the end of the second windward led. As for the team racing championships, the course will be a starboard ‘S’ course.
Shaikh Khalifa expressed pride and gratitude to Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee chairman Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa for patronising this event.
The BMSA chief also thanked other parties which have stepped forward to sponsor the championships.