UAE national, Adil Khalid, has secured his place aboard the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team for 2011/12

UAE national, Adil Khalid (22), is the latest member to secure his place aboard the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team for the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race, making him the first Emirati sailor to compete in this global event.

Adil Khalid, who represented the UAE in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Asian Games in November 2010, beat more than 120 Emirati hopefuls to earn his spot in the 11-strong 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.

Adil now joins a multi-national team, under the stewardship of skipper Ian Walker, in the emirate’s quest for podium honours in this 37-year-old competition where Abu Dhabi will make history by being the first Middle East host port, the first destination partner of the race and the first Arabian Gulf entry.

“This is a dream come true,” said Adil, 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.”

Adil was welcomed on board by his new team members who include 2008/2009 Volvo Ocean Race winning navigator, Jules Salter (GBR); Volvo Ocean Race 2005/06 winner, Justin Slattery (IRE); 2007 America’s Cup winner, Craig Satterthwaite (NZD); and 2009 Sydney-to-Hobart winner and two-time America’s Cup campaigner, Wade Morgan (AUS). The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team takes delivery of its new Volvo Open 70 racing yacht, currently under construction, this June.

Designed by the USA’s Farr Yacht Design and being built in Northern Italy by Persico SPA, is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced of-its-kind.

“We are finalising site negotiations for a prime waterfront location in Abu Dhabi city that will serve as the host marina and race village for the Abu Dhabi leg of the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race,” explained Mubarak Al Muhairi.

“We expect to break ground on the race village next month and progressively thereafter provide more details on its layout and design, visitor activities and community engagement programmes. The race boats will arrive here from Cape Town on New Year’s Eve giving us a unique opportunity to deliver a spectacular celebratory programme in true Arabian hospitality style for one and all.”