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Double Olympic Medallist to skipper Abu Dhabi's Volvo Ocean race Title Push

posted on 03/08/2010: 2046 views



Two-time Olympic medallist, Ian Walker of Great Britain, has taken the helm as skipper for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race title pursuit, as the emirate's newest sporting outfit readies for the 'Everest of Sailing'.

Appointed by the team's backer, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Walker will lead an 11-strong crew hoping to stake its claim in one of the world's toughest, most extreme sporting challenges. And ADTA, which was behind the emirate's successful bid to become a 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race home port, believes Walker's appointment is a major coup for Abu Dhabi's inaugural title tilt.

"Ian is the lynchpin in the dream team we are determined to secure," explained Ahmed Hussein, Deputy Director General, ADTA. "His high profile sends a signal of the seriousness of our ambitions in a sport which will help us build international awareness of our long maritime pedigree and exceptional coastline and surrounding waters."

As design consultant on ADTA's planned, specially-designed Volvo Open 70 racing yacht, Walker will be out to capitalise on years of experience to guide the outfit through nine-months of intense, head-to-head sailing over 39,000 nautical miles comprising four of the world's most treacherous oceans and seven continents.

Walker, a father of two, was the skipper and sailing manager of the 2002 British America's Cup Team. He has accrued a wealth of sailing experience in a two-decade long career, which includes coaching the 2004 British Olympic Gold medal winning women's keelboat sailing team, winning the TP52 Global Championship, and leading the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race outfit, Green Dragon - one of only three teams to finish every leg of the event unassisted.

Plans are being progressed with Abu Dhabi stakeholders for the UAE capital's New Year 2012 hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race, when it sails into the sport's record books as the first Middle East stopover in the event's 37-year history.

The 2011/2012 race which will start in Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and end in Galway, Ireland, in the summer of 2012. The Volvo Open 70 racing yacht is sailed by professional athletes, who race around the world with the prevailing winds. – Emirates News Agency, WAM



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