Thursday, 14 December 2017

ANCHORS AWAY! EGYPTIAN ‘TEAM O2’ TOE THE LINE AT THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST ROWING RACE


Adventurer Omar Samra and Triathlete Omar Nour set off on 3,000 nautical mile rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean

Cairo, 13 December 2017- Daring Egyptian duo, adventurer Omar Samra and professional triathlete Omar Nour, dubbed ‘Team O2’, set off today in the world’s toughest rowing race - an unsupported, 3,000 nautical mile journey from San Sebastian, La Gomera in the Spanish Canary Islands to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua.

The perilous journey is part of an annual ocean-rowing race called the Atlantic Challenge. 28 teams from 17 countries descended on La Gomera this week to take part in the 2017 race. If Samra and Nour successfully complete the grueling crossing, Team O2 will be the first Arab team to row across an ocean. They are also setting off with a close watch on the world record for pairs, which is 40 days, 4 hours and 3 minutes.  

Team O2 are sponsored by DHL – the world’s leading logistics company which has safely delivered their boat and 500 kg of equipment to the race start.

Speaking from the Canary Islands, Samra Commented: “I’ve never been happier to get to a start line! Although I'm well experienced as a mountain and polar adventurer, one thing is for sure – the ocean is very different to mountains and ice! I’ve learned so much over the last 10 months and we truly couldn’t have done it without the support of the team around us, including our partners at DHL.”

“There will be challenges along this incredible journey – when you’re faced with 50-foot waves, blisters, salt rash and sleep deprivation, that’s a given! But we’re as ready as we can be, and excited to get out there and show the world what you can do if you set your mind to it.”

Nour added: “I can’t believe this is it – we’re finally on the start line! The preparation we’ve gone through to get to this point has been intense - no outside assistance is permitted during the crossing, as soon as we row out of this harbor we are at the mercy of the elements – so it’s been imperative that we get every single detail locked down. It’s been incredible to have our whole support team here in La Gomera over the last week – our family, friends and the team from DHL – and to meet the other 27 teams. It really brings it home that we are part of something big. We truly hope we make everyone proud!”

Team O2 are proud to partner with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to help raise awareness of the refugee crisis in the Middle East and around the world.

Nour and Samra have been preparing for the grueling challenge for 10 months. Their preparation has included high-intensity physical conditioning to morph their bodies into that of elite rowers – the athletes have added a combined twenty-seven kilos of body weight which they expect to lose over the course of the crossing, and have completed over 200 hours of rowing on their boat.

The duo have also undergone significant mental and medical training to ensure their safety during the row, completing courses such as the RYA Yacht-master Ocean Theory, First Aid at Sea, Sea Survival and a VHF Radio License. They have also learnt how to self-administer IV drips, and Nour, a type 1 diabetic, has been fitted with a continuous glucose monitor that sets off an alarm to alert his teammate should his blood sugar drop below a critical level.

“DHL is incredibly proud of our partnership with two inspiring adventurers like Samra and Nour.” said Ken Allen, Global Chief Executive Officer, DHL Express.These two men embody our own attributes and I’m really looking forward to following their epic journey over the next few weeks. It won’t be easy, but I’m confident these two intrepid explorers will face any challenge they come across. I just wish them all the best of luck!”

The boat, named ‘Jan’, is 7.5m long x 1.8m wide and built of wood, fibre glass, carbon fibre and Kevlar. It is equipped with a water-maker to change the sea water into drinking water; solar panels to power GPS and other vital electrical equipment; 90 days’ worth of food rations; medical kits; tracking beacons; an ‘AIS’ allowing O2 to communicate with passing vessels; a satellite telephone and specially designed laptop called a ‘tough book’ to allow O2 to communicate with the outside world.

Samra and Nour met in 2013 and became firm friends, united by a passion for sports and adventure. Omar Samra, an adventurer, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, future astronaut, and U.N. goodwill ambassador, was the first Egyptian to climb Everest, the 7 Summits and ski to both the North and South Pole.  Professional triathlete, Omar Nour, represents Egypt on the Olympic triathlon circuit and is the fastest Arabic-speaking triathlete in the world.

The first successful Atlantic Ocean crossing was completed by Sir Chay Blyth and John Ridgeway in 1966 – a 92-day battle against hurricanes, 50 foot waves and near starvation. Sir Chay Blyth made a guest appearance at the start line today in La Gomera to set the race off.
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