Oman Sail Sailor of the Year - World class jury to decide winners

Mussanah Race Week 2013. Oman.Day 2 of racing close to the shore
Mark Lloyd/Oman Sail
The Oman Sails Sailor of the Year Awards is to be presented by Renaissance Services SAOG in Muscat on 14 May 2013. Ben Ainslie one of the most successful Olympic yachtsman of all time, has been named as a member of the world class jury that will decide the winners of Oman’s prestigious new awards.

Sailing’s world famous Ben Ainslie, who as a four-time British Olympic gold medallist is the most successful Olympic yachtsman of all time, has been named as a member of the world class jury that will decide the winners of Oman’s prestigious new Sailor of the Year Awards presented by Renaissance Services SAOG in Muscat on 14 May.

Ainslie, 35, who is also a five-time world champion title holder and America’s Cup sailor, is joined on the five member panel of judges by one of the world’s top woman sailors, Lijia Xu of China, 25, who won gold in the Laser Radial class at the 2012 Olympics.

Ainslie the gold medallist in the Finn class at the last Olympics, and Xu, are the 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year. It is the fourth time that Ainslie has been awarded sailing’s highest honour.

Oman sail
Mark Lloyd/Oman Sail
The full jury announced by Oman Sail today includes Oman’s most famous sportsman, Ali Al Habsi, who captains Oman’s National Football team and is also goalkeeper for Wigan Athletic in the UK.

Completing the panel is Hilal Al-Sinani, Oman’s National Olympic Committee representative, and Rob Andrew, an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) representative and sailing competition manager for the 2012 London Olympics.

The inaugural Sailor of the Year Awards presented by Renaissance Services SAOG and co-sponsored by Rolls-Royce, Oman Air, Muscat Daily, Technogym, the wellness Company, Nissan and Khimji Ramdas will be celebrated for the first time on Tuesday 14 May at a function at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel.

The jury has already been sent the names of male and female candidates nominated for individual and team awards in nine different categories that recognise outstanding achievements in sailing, coaching and technical skills.They will decide the final winners after a thorough two stage voting process independently observed by international auditors KPMG.

'It is a great honour for us to announce the external panel of judges who will decide the winners of our first ever Oman Sailor of the Year Awards. A group of such calibre and international status sets the highest of standards for what will become an esteemed annual event for Oman,' said Oman Sail CEO David Graham.

Graham said the candidates nominated for each award category were selected according to strict criteria and a transparent selection process audited by KPMG. 'Selection was based on individual 2012 performances and evaluations by their most direct managers. A key factor applicable to all categories was an attitude evaluation scored on behaviour, punctuality, listening to managers and a willingness to learn.

'Race team members were also evaluated on fitness and sailing performance. The coaches on technical skills and the Technical Support nominees on electronic skills, sail repair, splicing halyards and sheets, engine mechanics and boat building,' said Graham.

Candidates were nominated in seven categories: Oman Air Outstanding Male Race Team Member; Nissan Outstanding Female Race Team Member; Technogym, the wellness company Outstanding International Race Team; Khimji Ramdas Technical Support Award; Youth Team of the Year; Rolls-Royce plc Male Development Coach of the Year; Rolls-Royce plc Female Development Coach of the Year.

Only the male and female winners of the Race Team Member of the Year and Development Coach of the Year awards will be eligible to be nominated as candidates for the final two most coveted awards of the event: the Renaissance Services Sailor of the Year Awards to honour the most outstanding male and female overall winners.

Quotes from partners associated with the Oman Sailor of the Year Awards: Mr. Ian Lowe, Senior Vice President of Middle East & Africa - Defence of Rolls-Royce said the company was proud to be associated with Oman’s first ever Sailor of the Year Awards: 'We have specially identified the role of coaching as an area worthy of honouring as it reflects not only a passion for the sport of sailing but the ability to serve as a valuable role model teaching so many young up and coming sports men and women. It is a rare talent that enables people to pass on skills that they themselves have only recently acquired.

The men and women development coaches are the vital link for youngsters to achieve their highest ambitions in sport. We are proud that we can reward the important part they play in helping deliver Oman Sail’s pathway to excellence.'

Pankaj Khimji, Director of Khimji Ramdas said: 'We are pleased to support the Oman Sail Sailor of the Year Awards, such a prestigious event held locally will help raise awareness about the importance of sports in our daily lives and encourage the citizens and residents of Oman to choose a healthier lifestyle, especially given that Oman is entrenched in sea faring traditions as part of the silk route 13 centuries back,' said Pankaj Khimji, Director at Khimji Ramdas. 'At Khimji Ramdas, we consider the health and wellbeing of our people as a core corporate value.'

James Allen, General Manager of Sports Solutions LLC, the exclusive distributor for Technogym, the wellness company, products and services in the Sultanate said the incredible successes that Oman Sail’s elite racing teams have achieved at high profile sailing championships around the world is evidence of the heights that could be reached when individuals pulled together as a team. 'Drive and determination to succeed are qualities each member can bring to the team, but it is only when they are focused towards a common goal that we achieve a winning formula. Similarly Technogym, the wellness company, actively promotes a Wellness Lifestyle by championing the benefits of regular physical exercise, correct nutrition with a positive mental attitude and are delighted to promote the value of team spirit and the importance of working together as a team by sponsoring an award for the most Outstanding International Race Team'.

Wayne Pearce, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Air, said: 'Oman Air is proud to be the co-sponsor of the Oman Sailor of the Year Awards and we wish all the nominees the very best of luck. We are also proud to sponsor the Oman Air Outstanding Male Race Team Member of the Year award, especially following the outstanding success of our support for competitive sailing in Oman over the last few years. Sailing is a vital part of Omani history. These awards will play an important part in building on that heritage and encouraging even greater participation within the country and, as the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, we look forward to Omani sailors taking an even more prominent role on the international stage.'