TIME TO SAIL!
Twelve teams in total, representing eight countries, are set for another match racing battle over the next five days of racing this year in an event that has been upgraded to Grade Two following the tremendous organisation of the previous nine championship editions.
The event is organised by the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association for the 10th time and is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
Poland and Kuwait, each taking part with one team, arrived in Bahrain yesterday to complete the championship line-up.
Kuba Pawluc and Nayef Al Haddad, who will respectively skipper Poland and Kuwait crews from today, headed to the Bahrain Sailing Club where they examined the racing location and conducted their first practice session.
Other teams in the fray include two each from hosts Bahrain, Russia and Oman, besides one crew each coming from Estonia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.
Tunisia's delegation, skippered by Haedi Znaidi, was the first to reach Bahrain last Sunday and includes three other crew members.
Estonia and its four-member crew, led by Mati Sepp who has the highest ISAF ranking of 24, head into this year's championship as one of the title favourites.
Russia 'A' and 'B' teams are respectively skippered by Andrea Arbozov and Musikhin Sergey, ranked 46th and 26th, who were also present at the club yesterday as they have put the finishing touches to their preparations ahead of this match racing competition that features J24 boats.
Bahrain's boats will be sailed by crews skippered by Ebrahim Abdulla and Abdulla Janahi, Qatar will be captaind by Walid Al Shersheni, while Ahmed Al Mamri and lady sailor Intisar Al Tobi will lead the Oman teams. Adel Khalid-skippered the UAE is the other team taking part.
Meanwhile, the weight-in session took place yesterday at the club, conducted by a team of professional judges, led by Luca Babini of Italy. Other judges are Piero Occhitto of Italy, Thierry Poirey of France and Russia's Vladimir Pavlov.
India's Abhimanyu Patankar, along with Kasem Ben Jemia of Bahrain, Pakistan's Tareq Javed and Bahraini Ebrahim Hazeem and Sameer Shuwaiter are race officials, while ISAF representative Marianne Middlethon of Norway is scheduled to arrive today to observe the championship.
The BMSA has announced that it has already launched the championship on three social networking services - Facebook, Twitter and Instigram, to enable sailing fans follow up the race progress.
The technical and judging committees had a meeting yesterday when all development related to the championship were reviewed with teams' representatives. The draw ceremony and race timetable were also conducted later yesterday.
The championship has received the attention of several parties from the private sector, which signed on as sponsors, including Omega, Bapco and Banagas.
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