UAE national, Adil Khalid, was announced today as the latest member of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team, making him the first Emirati to fill a position on a racing crew for the Volvo Ocean Race. The 22-year-old Khalid, who represented the UAE in both the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Asian Games in November 2010, beat more than 120 Emirati hopefuls to earn his spot on the crew.
“The search for the UAE national to represent us in this challenge has been extensive, in-depth and highly competitive. This exhaustive process was necessary because the race demands and standards are exceptionally high, as are our own aspirations,” said His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, ADTA and Team Principal of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
“We have been impressed by many of the applicants whose enthusiasm has been a credit to the nation. The final selection went down to the wire and at the end of the day Adil Khalid was the unanimous choice and we congratulate him on this achievement. All three finalists were worthy contenders but Adil Khalid had the edge in terms of sailing experience as well as his developmental potential.”
In a televised awards ceremony at the UAE capital’s opulent Emirates Palace Hotel, Adil was selected ahead of fellow finalists, 26-year-old Butti Al Muhairi and 27-year-old Abdul Aziz Abdulla. He now joins the multi-national team under the watchful eye of skipper Ian Walker.
“This is a dream come true,” said Khalid, who has competed in sailing events across Europe, Asia and Australia. “I am determined to do the team and the nation proud. This is a fantastic vote of confidence in me and I intend to live up to it to the very best of my ability. It is an opportunity of a lifetime and I want to thank everyone involved for enabling it to happen.”
Since the nationwide search began in October 2010, Khalid and the other shortlisted candidates have undergone a rigorous three-month test programme, which included backbreaking fitness and endurance programmes to assess mental and physical strength, as well as a two-day sea trial in the Arabian Gulf.
To test sailing ability, the candidates were expected to prove themselves in five different positions onboard – bowman, pitman, trimmer, grinder and helmsman. They had to also prove their physical fitness levels, team working skills and underwent intense psychometric testing and interviews.
A review of the final three candidates was undertaken by ADTA’s Director General, His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi and leading UAE sailing personalities, His Excellency Saeed Hareb, President of the UAE Marine Sports Federation and CEO of Dubai International Marine Club and His Excellency Ahmed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yachting Sports Club.
“Adil Khalid stood out in terms of experience, steadfastness and single-mindedness. He now has a unique opportunity to step up to a whole new class of sailing and will be solidly supported with an extracurricular mentor programme covering fitness conditioning, sports psychology and communications training. We will invest in Adil to ensure his readiness for this ultimate maritime challenge,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi.