UMT Sailing Training Centre director Mohd Hafizi Said showing the competition poster of 'UMT Terengganu e-Sailing League 2020’. Photo: Bernama

KUALA NERUS: Malaysia’s sailing sport is now moving a step ahead with the launch of ‘UMT Terengganu e-Sailing League 2020’ which will run from June to December on the official virtual sailing platform, ‘Virtual Regatta’.

University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Sailing Training Centre director Mohd Hafizi Said said Malaysia’s first virtual sailing league has six series and will be joined by 170 participants including those from Indonesia and Brunei.

He said most of the participants were national athletes who will participate at the Tokyo Olympics next year including Khairulnizam Mohd Affendy, Malaysian Games (Sukma) participants and Institute of Higher Education (IPT) students in the maritime courses.

“Since 2017 we (UMT) have organised the Terengganu Monsoon Challenge regatta (sailing race) but this year following the new Covid-19 and the new normal, we are trying another platform online. It is a great opportunity for athletes to keep practicing because in the virtual world it is as though they are actually sailing as there is speed and wind direction simulated in the game.

“Athletes miss participating in competitions so this virtual tournament will motivate them to regain their competitive edge as they will compete against the same competitors,” he told Bernama when met at UMT, here today.

The first series of tournaments organised by UMT in collaboration with the Terengganu State Sports Council and the Terengganu Windsurfing Sailing Association will run from Friday to Sunday, June 12-14.

“In the final stages of the tournament in December we plan to bring participants together in one location so that they have the same advantages such as the same level of internet speed. It will still be virtual but they will be gathered in one area,” he said.

E-sailing is still considered new in Malaysia but countries like Germany and Switzerland have been active in e-sailing competitions for the past few years. – Bernama