Malaysia aspire to continue dominance

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Malaysia aspire to continue dominance

Post by Wak on 2009-02-02, 14:30

Gulf Times
2nd February 2009

Malaysia aspire to continue dominance
By Suman Malla

THE 17th Qatar International Sailing Regatta Sail the Gulf 2009 begins in earnest today with hosts Qatar counting on local knowledge while Malaysia are looking another dominant display.

The tournament, formally inaugurated by president of Qatar Sailing and Rowing Federation Khalifa M al-Suweidi, features more than 100 sailors from 22 countries in six classes: Optimist, Laser 4.7, Laser Standard, Laser Radial, 470 and Hobie-16.
Qatar have the biggest contingent with 20 sailors who will be competing in five classes, with an exception of Laser Standard.
And the hosts are banking on young sailors Waleed al-Sharshani, Hassan al-Tamimi and Mohammed al-Zaini to shine.
Al-Sharshani, who won the Laser 4.7 last year, has since graduated to a more demanding Laser Radial class. But the 18-year-old sailor believes his exposure to top-level competitions and familiar conditions will help him put in a good show.

"I expect it's going to be another interesting competition. I will try my best to fetch a medal," said al-Sharshani, a silver medallist in Laser 4.7 at the Asian Games in 2006. He was the lone Qatari sailor to win a gold medal in this event last year.
But in the face of encouraging results in recent competitions both on shores of Qatar and outside, al-Tamimi and al-Zaini are keen to fill in the shoes of more accomplished teammates in Laser 4.7.

"I had just joined in Laser 4.7 last year. It was a great experience out there," said al-Tamimi.
"I've been exposed to several other regattas since in this class. So I'm really looking forward to the challenge."
And he is determined to come within the top three. "I've been training hard for the past three months. Our familiarity with the conditions here also would be of help in us putting in a good performance," he added.

Since the three have graduated to higher classes, Qatar are left with a plenty of space to fill in the Optimist where they had been so dominant. No wonder, Qatar's sailing coach Khalid Bettihthamou is happy to keep his expectations low. Qatar have eight sailors in this class, including a female contestant -- Ala'a Shouhdy.

He explained that most of his sailors are young and still learning. "Expecting more from them will only put more pressure on them. We will be pleased to finish inside the top five," said Bettihthamou.
More than going for a win, he takes the event as a test in their preparation for next year's Asian Sailing Championship. However, with his young sailors posting better timings, Bettihthamou hopes his sailors will not be mere also-rans in the competition.
"Some of our sailors have better timings compared to their opposition who will be racing here," he explained.
"Sailing is very unpredictable. It's a tough field out there and it will be interesting to see what happens at the weekend."

Malaysia emerged on top in last year's event, accumulating seven medals, including four gold and a silver. Not surprisingly, their expectations are much higher this time around.
"We expect to better our last performance here," said Mohammed Afendy Abdullah, who is leading their 14-member squad. "Most of the sailors who were here last year are currently competing in Australia," he conceded. But he sent out warnings to rival teams of yet another dominant display, especially in Optimist, Laser 4.7 and 470 classes.

He said: "We have a strong team of sailors. And we'd like everyone to see what they are made of."
According to Abdullah, Ahmed Latif and Farhan Hamid will be leading the Malaysian charge in Optimist class, while Khairunneet and Murafiqa are strong contenders in Laser 4.7. He is also counting on his 470 teams of Kuanas and Afiq, and Nurullela and Si Ti to return with medals.
However, with a strong field of sailors lining up from Egypt, Bahrain, UAE as well as traditionally strong nations Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and South Africa, the regatta promises a keen competition over a week.

Members of the Malaysian team perform during the inauguration of the 17th Qatar International Sailing Regatta yesterday. Pic: Sami
(Photo on the newspaper today).

Wak
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Re: Malaysia aspire to continue dominance

Post by Wak on 2009-02-04, 07:47

Day 2 standings:
Optimist (Open): 1. Ahmed Latif (MAS) 4pts, 2. Imene Cherif (ALG) 6pts, 3. Zakaria Khoualed (ALG) 8pts

Laser 4.7 (Open): 1. Wassim Ziani (ALG) 2pts, 2. Hassan al-Tamimi (QAT) 5pts, 3. Omar Abdulaziz Ahmed (BRN) 6pts

Laser Radial (Open): 1. Abdulla Rahim Abdulla (BRN) 3pts, 2. Adil Mohammed (UAE) 7pts, 3. Waleed al-Sharshani (QAT) 8pts

Laser Standard: 1. Rudy Lloyd McNeill (RSA) 5pts, 2. Tahar Selmane (ALG) 6pts, 3. Mohd Ali Soukeur (ALG) 10pts

470 (Open): 1. Megat Ahmed/Mohd Hanafi (MAS) 6pts, 2. Ku Anas/Mohd Afiq (MAS) 8pts, 3. Mohd al-Hamdan/Ali Bohamad (KUW) 12pts

Hobie 16: 1. Amro Yousry/Ali M al-Safran (QAT) 3pts, 2. Fahad Adsani/Mohd Ismail (QAT) 16pts, 3. Issa Pour Beshman/Majid Seyfisan Gachini (IRN) 17pts

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