From October 28 to November 20, 2022, Bahrain will host the Star Sailors League (SSL) Gold Cup 2022 Final Series, sailing’s version of the Football World Cup.
The SSL Gold Cup, a World Sailing special event organised every four years by the Sailing Athletes Foundation (SAF), is ‘THE’ ultimate challenge between sailing nations to crown the world champions, a first in the sport’s history.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has been proactive to host international sport events including F1 Bahrain Grand Prix since 2004, Asian Cycling Championships 2017, the Amateur MMA World Championship 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The SSL Gold Cup final series 2022 will be the first World Class sailing event to take place in Bahrain since the Military World Sailing Championship 2010 and the Kingdom Match Race 2021. The new development project Water City Garden, in front of the iconic Manama City skyline, will welcome the event.
Like the Football World Cup, the SSL Gold Cup gives all 40 teams, who race on the exact same boat, the SSL47, a 14-metre performance racing boat, the chance to win.
These 40 teams include the world’s top 23 sailing nations plus 16 teams coming from the Qualifying Series (taking place from May to July 2022), hosted by Bahrain. Local champion Abdullah Janachi is appointed Captain of the ‘Sharks’, the team’s nickname.
Abdullah Janahi, Captain of SSL Team Bahrain, said “It is a privilege to be part of the first edition of the SSL Gold Cup, which it is today the biggest Sailing event in the World. It is as big as the World Cup of football but in Sailing. I have no doubt in the abilities of the Bahrainis to participate and perform in such event.
“I dreamt of putting together a team. And this dream became bigger when my country decided to organize this World class event. I have no doubt in the capacity of Bahraini organizing such an event. It means the World to me to be part of this journey.”
Like the pinnacle event in football, each team will be wearing the colours of their nation and their emblems. Each team includes 11 athletes including Olympic medallists, Olympians, world champions from all inshore sailing classes.
Amongst these sailors include Ian Williams and Sir Ben Ainslie (SSL Team GBR), Tom Slingsby (SSL Team Australia), Robert Scheidt and Martine Grael (SSL Team Brazil), Anne-Marie Rindom (Denmark), Xavier Rohart (SSL Team France), Taylor Canfield (SSL Team United States), and many more.
In each group, four teams will battle their way through to the next round. The 16 teams from Qualifying Series will race from October 28 to November 2. The Top two teams of each group will join the next eight teams, including Bahrain in Round of 16, and so on until the Grand Final scheduled for November 20.
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association, said, “Being host nation for the SSL Gold Cup 2022 is of great significance for Bahrain and sailing in Bahrain. It represents a major step in implementation of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Sport development plan.
“For over 30 years we have been working to promote sailing in Bahrain and the Arab World, reaching for the very highest standards of the Olympic classes and world championships. And now the ultimate goal is about to be achieved. We are very proud to welcome the prestigious SSL Gold Cup 2022, an event that will not only bring all the operational expertise and support of the Star Sailors’ League, but also add great value for Bahrain’s Tourism economy.
“The SSL Gold Cup 2022 provides a pivotal contribution to the long-term objective of Bahrain’s vision for 2030 that His Highness Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, has developed to promote Bahrain Tourism and the destination as a prime worldwide International Sailing location.”
Xavier Rohart, President of the SSL, said “We are delighted and honoured to bring the first SSL Gold Cup to Bahrain, a modern country, proud of its tradition and looking to develop its Tourism economy thanks to World Class sporting events like the SSL Gold Cup.
“Their long experience of organising big events such as the F1 Bahrain GP will identify the SSL Gold Cup as a true international popular event around the World. The SSL Gold Cup is designed to bring together the best sailors on the Planet like the Football World Cup has been doing since 1930. And Bahrain will stay in History as the first country to hosted what will become a landmark in Sport history.”
By SSL Gold Cup communication