Mumbai to host week-long Optimist Asian & Oceanian Championship for Under-15 boys and girls

The prestigious Optimist Asian and Oceanian Sailing Championship will be staged in India after a gap of 19 years at the Girgaum Chowpatty here. The week-long event, an international regatta in Optimist Class, will be held from December 13-20, 2022 under the aegis of the Maharashtra Gujarat & Goa Area/Army Yachting Node (AYN).

The event is the Continental championship for Asian and Oceanian member nations that are part of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA). This event was last hosted by India in 2003.

In all 105 sailors, boys and girls up to the age of 15, from 13 countries including the USA, Belgium, Mauritius and Turkey, in the Asian and Oceania region will be seen in action during the week-long event.

In addition to this, around 25 officials from Argentina, Thailand, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey, Japan, Canada and India will form the core of the International Jury/Race Management.

“The sport aims to contribute to Nation-building by channelising the energy of youth into sports, character building, inculcating the spirit of adventure and empowering them to face future challenges,” said Colonel Nachhatar Singh Johal, the Commanding officer of the AYN and 2008 Beijing Games Olympian.

“This event will present us an excellent opportunity to showcase our preparedness for major events and also parade our best talents to the world at large. It will not only encourage tourism in the country but also contribute to transforming India into a world-class sailing destination in future,” Colonel Johal was quoted as saying in a release on Saturday.

In addition to the support from the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of Maharashtra, there has been complete backing of the Yachting Association of India (YAI) and National Optimist Association of India (NOAI).

“The main aim of the event is to motivate young and budding sportspersons while trying to provide impetus to sailing as a sport in Mumbai and Maharashtra, by promoting this ‘environment friendly’, ‘clean’ and ‘green’ sport amongst the youth of the country,” stated Colonel Johal.

The event will be kicked off with an opening ceremony on December 14 at the Yashwantrao Chavan Centre, Nariman Point, Mumbai. In all 10 races will be held with a maximum of three races per fleet per day. The event will wind down with a closing ceremony on December 19 at Thackers, Chowpatty.

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