European Optimist Champion for Malta event
It is definitely consolidating its status of a top international event when with only a few more days to go for the start of the four-day event – 19th till the 22nd December – the 2013 Euromed Malta Championship keeps the excitement and spirit of surprise alive with never ending happenings.
Fourteen year old Stijn Paardekooper of the Nederland who last June at Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, was declared European Champion at the European Optimist Championship will be trying to add the Malta Award to his sailing achievements and record for the first time a Dutch Euromed winner. Stijn is a member of the WSV Braassermermeer sailing Club.
The strong Russian contingent of 32 sailors will be travelling some 1755 miles to reach Malta for the Event. Up to a few days ago this was looked upon as the longest distance being covered by prospective Euromed competitors. Now the longest distance has become 3999 miles with the confirmation of 7 sailors, five males and two females, from India. Six of the sailors, the youngest of whom is 10-year old Navyn Prabhakar, come from the Tamil Nadu Sailing Association (TNSA), in Chennai, with the seventh one being a female member from the Corps of Engineers Sailing Club (CESC), of Pune.
A name to note is Aniketh Rajaram, 12, who currently ranks 3rd in the national Optimist squad of India. His recent achievements include a Gold in the Optimist team racing in the Sail the Gulf Regatta 2012, and placed 25th in a fleet of 117 sailors at the Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open Championship 2013. Aniketh, from the TNSA, also registered an 8th place finish out of 89 entries in the Irish Nationals 2013, being the only Indian in the event’s top 10 among a predominanty British representation and the lone German winner.
The Indian team will be accompanied by team’s manager Ms. Kanthimathi Prabhakar, who is the Official Handicapper and Measurer of TNSA.
India makes Euromed 2013 a ten nation Championship with the record entry taken further and now stands at 150 competitors - Belgium 1 sailor, Cyprus 6, India 7, Israel 8, Italy 26, Malta 50, Netherlands 1, Romania 2, Russia 32, and the United Kingdom 17.
Participants are being split into five categories, namely, Optimist Cadet Class – 38 sailors, Optimist Open Class – 83, Optimist Novice Class – 9, Laser Radial Class – 6, and Laser 4.7 Class – 14.
The Euromed 2013 competitive program will be made up of nine races in all....of course weather permitting; 2 races on Thursday 19th, 3 races on the 20th, 3 races on the 21st and 1 final race on Sunday 22nd. Races on all days start at ten except on the opening day of event when these start at eleven.
All races are targeted to last between 55 and 75 minutes each. Thus depending on wind strength and sea conditions each race would be of about 2 to 3 nautical miles long.
An exciting and spectacular start is envisaged with over 100 Optimist dinghies together on the starting line; an imaginary stripe measuring some 200 meters long.
On the eve of another Euromed one finds that Maltese sailors have won five of the Event’s thirteen editions, with Russians winning three titles, Swedish two and one victory each going to an Irish, a Turk, and an Italian sailor. Malta’s Thomas Zammit Tabona is the only sailor to win the Euromed twice, in 2006 and 2007, while eleven-year-old Russian Nikita Ushkov (2009) was the youngest winner ever. Meanwhile, the winners of the past thirteen editions were:
2000 – Lisa Tait (13yrs) – Ireland; 2001 – Ton Thorn (13) – Sweden; 2002 – Matthew Fleri Soler (14) – Malta; 2003 – Vaalentino Valacchi (14) – Italy; 2004 – Henrik Grim (14) – Sweden; 2005 – Okan Arin (12) – Turkey; 2006 – Thomas Zammit Tabona (12) – Malta; 2007 - Thomas Zammit Tabona (12) – Malta; 2008 – Ella Fleri Soler (15) – Malta; 2009 - Nikita Ushkov (11) – Russia; 2010 – Pavel Rasskazov (13) – Russia; 2011 – Edward Fleri Soler (15) – Malta; 2012 – Artem Sudakov (12) – Russia.
One of the main characteristics of this event held close to Christmas is the good number of foreign sailors’ parents, family members and other sailing club members who take the opportunity to make a holiday out of their Malta trip.
Seabank Resort+Spa in Mellieha is the official hotel of Euromed 2013 while Maxima Lido on the sandy beach of Mellieha Bay will house the race office and the launching area of the Championship.
The Euromed Malta Championship, now in its 14th Edition, is organised by the Malta Young Sailors Club with the cooperation of the Kunsill Malti għall-iSport and the Mellieħa Local Council.
The Mediterranean Bank is the main sponsor of Euromed 2013 which is held under the patronage of the Malta Sailing Federation.