International Sailing Federation's (ISAF) 2015 World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi next week.
The five-day regatta, taking place from October 28 to November 1, marks the climax of a World Cup journey which began in Melbourne, Australia, last December, before continuing with other qualifying events in Miami, USA, Hyeres, France, Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain, and finally Qingdao, China, last month.
The annual series of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors returns to Abu Dhabi following a first visit last November organised by ISAF and Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club (ADSYC), with the support of the UAE Sailing & Rowing Federation (UAE SARF), Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
"This is an event which underlines Abu Dhabi's growing status as an international sailing hub and, at the same time, provides the entire UAE sailing community with a wonderful opportunity to learn from the best sailors in the world," said Ahmad Thani Al Rumaithi, Chairman, ADSYC and Vice-President, UAE SARF.
"We're very proud of our long and rich maritime history and are equally committed to preserving our heritage and traditions as we are to continue developing Abu Dhabi's appeal as a destination that attracts sailors from around the world, while nurturing young UAE talent."
ISAF President Carlo Croce said: "Abu Dhabi proved to be a truly world-class venue last year and we're excited to be working with our fully committed partners there again to stage the final of the ISAF 2015 World Cup series. We share a determination to drive the continued development of sailing in Abu Dhabi and the Gulf region as a whole, and all our qualifiers from around the world are thoroughly looking forward to competing on the World Cup stage in such a wonderful sailing venue."
The ISAF Sailing World Cup is open to the sailing classes chosen for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has this year attracted more than 2,000 of the world's leading sailors from over 75 nations.
Those who go into action in Abu Dhabi will be competing for World Cup titles in eight of the 10 Olympic classes, as well as kite-surfing, and the top-three finishers in each will earn a share of a $220,000 (Dh808,000) prize fund.
The ISAF's top sailing regatta takes place in the waters around Lulu Island off the UAE capital's Corniche, which organisers say will provide a great spectacle both for crowds of local spectators as well as an ISAF television audience of millions spread across more than 100 countries. The emirate's rising status in the international sailing world was reinforced by the first World Cup instalment last year, and again soon afterwards when it served as a stopover in the dramatic Volvo Ocean Race, which in June culminated in victory for the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew of Azzam.
Taking part next week will be leading competitors from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Holland, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA.
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