Being the host nation of the first edition of the SSL Gold Final Series is not something all nations can claim. SSL Team Bahrain, who trained for the first time in Grandson this week, know the expectations are high. But for Abdulla Janahi, Captain of the "Sharks", it's more an honour than pressure.
StarSailors.com: How was your first ever training in Grandson?
Abdulla Janahi: We had an incredible training this week. We had a great time training against SSL Team Poland and with coaches who specially came for us. Lake Neuchatel is such a great place to sail and race. We had all different conditions during our time here. We were really lucky with the wind.
How did your team work together?
It's a privilege to participate to such an event. It's the most important sailing event right now. It's like the Football World Cup in Sailing. Being part of this is incredible. As a team we worked very well. The first days had to be hard as we had to adapt to the SSL47. Then, the team improved day by day with better communication and maneuvers started to go more smoothly. Most importantly, everyone now know their task and what they have to do on the boat and we need to keep our spirit positive and high like during this training.
In a couple of months, Bahrain will welcome the Final Series (Oct 29-Nov 20). Is there already some pressure on you?
It is a privilege to host these Finals. We are ready to welcome the World best nations in Bahrain with Olympic, World and Continental champions from all around the World. I won't say we have pressure. We will do our best to represent the best we can our country by training hard and being competitive. Pressure will help us to sail better and to fight in every single race!
After this training and after watching the five rounds of SSL Gold Cup Qualifying Series, what are your objectives?
As I said, we want to represent our country and show that we are here to compete and to fight. We don't want to be there just as the host nation. We want to show the World we can also obtain some good results.
Kacem Ben Jemia, Coach of SSL Team Bahrain:
"All the team is very motivated. It's hard to say if our athletes are under pressure or not. We will sail to our best to show the World and the SSL Gold Cup organisation that we are not here just as the host nation.
We already know we will be with SSL Team Austria and that they are a good team. Underdogs SSL Team Cuba and SSL Team Oman showed that everything is possible. A 4-boat fleet always give some room for results."
DID YOU KNOW?
Sailing has its own World Cup, finally! Like football in 1930 and rugby in 1987, the SSL Gold Cup is designed to crown the best sailing nation of all! The World's Top 56 countries, selected on their SSL Nation ranking, will battle their way through to raise the coveted and only Sailing World Cup trophy.
The SSL Gold Cup 2022 started on May 19th with the Qualifying Series in Grandson, Lake Neuchatel (Switzerland). All teams ranked from the Top 25 to 56 in the SSL Nations Ranking (based on January 2022 standings) will meet in eight groups of four teams each. There will be five stages, or rounds, until July 17th.
Only the top two teams of each group will go through to the Final Series that will take place from October 28th to November 20th, 2022, in Bahrain.
- Teams qualified in Round 1: SSL Team Antigua & Barbuda, SSL Team Estonia, SSL Team Ireland, and SSL Team Tahiti.
- Teams qualified in Round 2: SSL Team Slovenia and SSL Team Lithuania.
- Teams qualified in Round 3: SSL Team Portugal, SSL Team Czech Republic, SSL Team Peru, and SSL Team Chile.
- Teams qualified in Round 4: SSL Team Oman and SSL Team Cuba.
- Teams qualified in Round 5: SSL Team South Africa, SSL Team Ukraine, SSL Team Thailand, and SSL Team Malaysia.