A record entry is forecast for the 2013 Laser World Championships in Oman from November this year with interest so overwhelmingly high that places are already oversubscribed for the Master class four months ahead of the October entry cut off date.
Entries are now filling up quickly from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, North, South and Central America. The line-up for the Laser Standard is expected to include renowned Olympic medalists such as Pavlos Kontides (Cyprus), silver medalist at the London 2012 Olympics Game, Andy Maloney (NZ) rising star from New Zealand, bronze medalist in the 2012 Laser World Championship in Germany and Tonci Stipanovic (Croatia), silver medalist in the 2012 Laser World Championship in Germany.
The Laser Radial Youth World Championship to be held from 28th December – 3rd January has so far attracted sailors from 19 countries and all indications are that this category may also soon be reaching triple figure.
“The overwhelming interest in the event shows that competitors, their families and friends are keen to travel to Oman from every continent. This is a direct result of how we have marketed the championship,” says Oman Sail Events Director, Issa Sultan Al Ismaili.
“We expect to set a new all time entry record in the Laser Standard Men’s World Championships especially since we are working closely with the International Laser Association to encourage entries from emerging sailing nations. Our goal is to have sailors from 60 nations competing and I think it is achievable considering early indications.”
Competitors for the Masters championship are being encouraged to bring their partners and combine a holiday with the championship experience. Similarly friends and family accompanying young sailors to the youth Laser Radial Championships can leave winter behind to enjoy an extended festive season vacation in the sun.
Special entertainment and social programmes highlighting the culture of Oman and local themes will include a “Night with the Stars” featuring Olympic medallists, expert coaches and inspirational sailing heroes to share experiences and meet the interests of young and old especially during the New Year period.
In all over 1000 additional visitors are expected to accompany the teams, including race officials, coaches, international media and family members when the world’s most popular adult and youth racing class comes to Oman.
“It will definitely have a positive impact on inbound tourism and present a very powerful way to introduce Oman to a lot of influential people. The hosting of the ISAF Annual Conference just prior to the event will also offer an unprecedented opportunity to showcase our sailing venues and facilities to the most powerful decision makers in the sport, “ said Al Ismaili.
Hosting the Laser World Championships is also integral to the highly successful Oman Sail national sailing initiative in Oman that is reviving the country’s centuries old sailing heritage.
Since it was launched in 2008, 11,000 young Omani’s have been through sail training programmes at grass roots level, a comprehensive youth development programme is in place and the country’s elite sailing squad is competing worldwide at international events.
“Hosting the Laser World Championships will both attract professional expertise and instil national pride by giving our national squad the chance to compete against the best in the world in home waters.
“It will also help develop the knowledge and skills of those Omanis who will be involved in the sailing, race management and event organisation and give a broader basic understanding of the sport of sailing.”
Steady winds and typically 24 degree weather in November combined with state of the art infrastructure and facilities for sailors, media, race and event management, a 54 berth marina, refuelling station, dive school and workshop facilities complemented by upmarket accommodation and retail amenities all within walking distance is what sets Mussanah Sport City apart.
“We have proven experience and expertise in running extremely successful large scale local and international championships from the 2010 Asian Beach Games to the recent RC44 Oman Cup and three editions of the Extreme 40 Series. Everything is ready and in place.” said Al Ismaili.