Oman DownWinder concludes after showcasing its potential to drive new sports and adventure opportunities

Oman Tuesday 09/July/2024 20:29 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman DownWinder concludes  after showcasing its potential to drive new sports and adventure  opportunities

Muscat: The inaugural edition of the “Oman DownWinder”, an initiative commissioned by Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran Group) to realise the tourism diversification goals of Vision 2040 and enhance Oman’s adventure and experiences sector, concluded at the Ras Al Hadd castle after eight days and 500km at sea.

This event embodies the Group’s efforts to enhance the experiences and adventure sector by leveraging the unique natural assets, and as a commitment to creating sustainable and eco-friendly experiences for adventure enthusiasts.

Twelve professional athletes from Oman and overseas took part, and the expedition documented to share Oman’s beauty with the world as the nation positions itself as an emerging sports tourism and events destination.

The closing ceremony was held in Ras Al Hadd, South Al Sharqiyah Governorate, under the patronage of Dr. Yahya bin Badr bin Malik Al-Maawali, Governor of South Al Sharqiyah, and attended by Dr. Hashil bin Obaid Al Mahrouqi, CEO of Omran Group, Dr. Khamis bin Salim Al Jabri, CEO of Oman Sail, along with several sheikhs and officials.

Participants covered more than 500 kilometres over eight days, highlighting key tourist destinations along the Omani coast and enhancing its status as a leading international venue for kiteboarding.

Participants also had the opportunity to enjoy unique tourist experiences such as the Sugar dunes in Khalouf, Masirah Island, and Ashkara, before reaching Ras Al Jinz Reserve in South Al Sharqiyah Governorate.

This allowed all participants to explore the beauty of the Omani coasts, which experience exceptional weather conditions at this time of year, adding to its natural allure.

Exhibition races were held at each of the seven legs of the journey, ranging from 52km to 115km to highlight the possibility of shorter sprint and longer marathon windsurfing events along the Omani coastline. Conditions proved excellent throughout the event, allowing the athletes to reach near-top speeds and challenge themselves with exhilarating waves.

At the end of each leg, participants enjoyed stopovers at key destinations to sample the authentic hospitality on offer in Oman.

Sultan bin Suleiman Al-Khudouri, Assets Manager at the Omran Group and Acting Executive Director of the Najm Project, emphasised the Oman DownWinder’s role in unlocking Oman›s tourism potential.

“This event marks a significant step forward,” he declared, “as we unveil the hidden treasures of Oman›s landscapes and cultural heritage to the world. The DownWinder aligns perfectly with our strategic vision of promoting Oman as a world-class destination for international sporting events, showcasing our capabilities on to host such events.”

Marcelo Antunes Ferreira, CEO of Sea & Beach Projects S.P.C., expressed his great joy at the warm reception the event received from the local community throughout its stages. He said, “The Oman DownWinder provided a wonderful platform for visitors and community members to enjoy watching the races, confirming that the event was an exceptional experience by attracting professional athletes and enthusiasts from around the world. This sport will provide Oman with an opportunity to enhance its status as a global sports destination.”

Marcelo also noted that the Oman DownWinder 2024 has become a global attraction for athletes and that organising this championship in the future will provide multiple benefits in sports, tourism, cultural, and economic sectors, contributing to the development of kiteboarding locally and enhancing Oman›s position in this field globally.

Athletes participating included Barakat Al Kindi, a keen amateur with 12 years of experience in kitesurfing, Azan Al Senani, a passionate marine photographer and certified PADI dive instructor with over 15,000 recorded dives, Majid Jamal, an amateur kitesurfing enthusiast, Dutch professional Ruben Lenten, winner of the 2005 Red Bull race, British kitesurfing champion Hannah Whiteley, surfing coach Mitu Monteiro, and Fernando Fernandez, an innovative athlete in inclusive sports for people with disabilities.

The Oman DownWinder was organised by the Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran Group) in cooperation with Oman Sail, the national travel operator Visit Oman, and the Oman Adventure Center.