23 - 29 December 1999
Issue No. 461
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
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Ships ahoyBy Abeer Anwar
A major sailing championship this side of the Atlantic, starting 17 January, is said to be the biggest of its kind. Sponsored by Al-Ahram, the six-day World Penta Mistral Cup 2000 Sailing Championship has attracted 130 players thus far -- 90 men and 40 women -- from 30 countries. The opening ceremony, on 16 January, will feature a folklore troupe from the American University in Cairo and a number of Egyptian singers.
The Mistral is now considered among the world's major sailing championships, listed on the calendar of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), and making Egypt the first African country to be so honoured.
The championship has attracted a number of TV stations, including the BBC and Sports Shoes, which will cover the event and distribute it to 21 international channels. Reporters from Poland, Italy, Spain, Britain and the US will be on hand with pencil and PC.
Emile El-Wazzan, deputy manager of the Egyptian Sailing and Water Ski Federation (ESWF), and head of the organising committee, firmly believes Egyptians should support the event wholeheartedly because the sport is not only for the elite "as many people think." It does not need expensive facilities; just water and the equipment offered by the federation, El-Wazzan added.
A number of facilities, including a referees room and press and computer centres have been set up at Shams Safaga, the village which will host the event.
At a conference for the World Penta Mistral Cup 2000 Sailing Championship: (from left to right) Rory Ramsden, Said Zada, Mamdouh El-Beltagui, Emile El-Wazzan, Hassan Hamdi and Essam Abdel-Moneim
The Egyptian national sailing team, with Ahmed and Sherif Hafez and Ibrahim Ismail all aboard, will be training from 1 to 14 January in Safaga to get themselves acquainted with the water and the weather. The ESWF has bought equipment for the three worth LE10,000. The Egyptian Sailing Club at Port Said has chosen a Dutch coach who takes over the team for only two weeks. EgyptAir will cut ticket prices by half while the referees will fly aboard the airliner for free. Red Sea Governor Saad Abu Reeda has donated LE50,000 to the championship. Shams Safaga owner Abdel-Fattah Abdullah has offered reasonable prices for Egyptians and foreigners residing in single and double rooms and is ready to pay for the theatre, its sound system and the lighting.