The Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria will host the 2017 African Optimist Championship from 28 June until 5 July. Around 12 to 18 countries will be participating.
This is not the first time for the city of Alexander the Great to host such a prestigious sporting event, as the first edition of the African Optimist Championship in 2001 was held in Alexandria.
The 2006 African Optimist Championship also took place in Alexandria.
A press conference was held on Sunday at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport’s headquarter in Alexandria. Several figures in the maritime field attended including: Nuno Gomes, vice president of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA); Omar Aboul Sooud, president of the Egyptian Sailing and Water-Ski Federation; the executive director of the Egyptian Sailing and Water-Ski Federation; and Ismail Abdel Ghafar, president of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport.
When Gomes was asked about why the IODA accepted to offer Egypt the hosting of the 2017 African Optimist Championship, he answered: “There is a candidacy process through which countries that want to host the championship present their proposals. Then the selection takes place according to many factors such as evaluating the ability of the place to host the championship, wind’s speed at this place, installations offered, suitable conditions of the opening and closing ceremony, the number of boats needed for support, logistics, commodity for attendees, and votes.”
“Egypt was among the countries that presented a proposal,” he added. “Through a general assembly held during the 2015 Optimist World Championship in Dziwnow, Poland, Egypt received 58 votes, and it was decided that Egypt will be the host country for the 2017 Optimist African Championship.”
According to Gomes, the best African teams in the sport over the past four or five years are Algeria, South Africa, Mozambique, and Angola.
Speaking about the sport worldwide, he said that the most developed countries are European countries, Australia, and New Zealand. “Although Asian countries improved a lot, European champions still attract attention in international events, whether in regards to their performance, or the number of athletes and boats participating,” he said. He added that at the 2016 Optimist World Championship, celebrated in Vilamoura, Portugal, Swiss Max Wallenberg was the champion, while Maltese Victoria Schultheis was the women’s champion.