Adil Khalid finds paralympian pure inspiration

11 Aug 2014

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 11 August 2014: UAE sailing superstar Adil Khalid – the only Arab sailor in 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race and an inspiration to budding Emirati mariners – came face-to-face with a motivational figure of his own when he shared the deck of Abu Dhabi’s Azzam race yacht with US paralympian sailor Keith Burhans.

Adil, the only Arab to have ever completed the epic Volvo Ocean race, sailed with Burhans after the 58-year-old double leg amputee from New York won a Facebook competition to join the crew of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) – Abu Dhabi’s Volvo Ocean Race contesting squad – for a charity race off the south coast of England last week.

The young UAE sporting star was impressed by Keith’s performance aboard the stunning Azzam Volvo Ocean 65 yacht as he helped the team to a first-in-class victory in the Artemis Challenge ­– its first preparation race for the 2014-15 round-the-world challenge, which starts in October.

“The courage and fortitude I saw in Keith was absolutely amazing – he was pure inspiration,” said Adil. “It was a real privilege for me to see Keith in action, and I was impressed with the fact that he does not let his disability slow him down nor stop him from performing at a remarkable level.”

“I was honoured to be able to share the deck with him for the Artemis Challenge. I learnt so much from seeing him in action and from the way he conducted himself onboard.”

For Keith’s part, he too was left with nothing but admiration for his young, albeit temporary crewmate.

“Adil is really a fantastic guy,” said Keith, who lost his legs in a boating accident in 1995, but still went on to represent the USA at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. “I’ve got nothing but admiration for him. He’s leading the way in the Arab world for sailors – uncharted waters some might say. But after seeing him in action I hope many more Arabs follow his lead and take to the waves.”

“I’m certainly going to keep a keen eye on Azzam and the ADOR team on Facebook as they compete in the Volvo Ocean Race. And I’ll be encouraging all my sailing friends in the US to do the same. It promises to be a thrilling race and I’ll be cheering on my recent shipmates as they challenge for the title.”

“From the phenomenal professionalism I saw while I was onboard, I think skipper Ian Walker and his crew have a fantastic opportunity to take the title home to Abu Dhabi.”

Follow news of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team and hear the latest on the Abu Dhabi stopover for the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race by following on Facebook -, on Twitter and Instagram - @ADORlog, online at, and on YouTube -





Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The authority manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. TCA Abu Dhabi supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key authority role is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.


For more information on the Abu Dhabi VOR Stopover please contact:

Nathan Wilson – ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller

d. +971 2 633 4133

e. [email protected]


For more information on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing please contact:

Justin Chisholm - Communications Officer, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

d. +44 7769 938 722

e. [email protected]


For more information on Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority please contact:

Matt Ross

e. [email protected]


Arabic enquiries please to:

Saood Al Harethi

e. [email protected]


For media information on the Volvo Ocean Race, please contact:

Jon Bramley - Director, News and Media

Volvo Ocean Race HQ (Spain)

Tel +34 966 011 150

[email protected]


Christina Gaither - Media Relations Manager

Tel +34 676 675 931

[email protected]


Editors’ Notes

  • The next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will be the 12th running of the 40-year-old event, which started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.

  • The race will start on October 4, 2014, day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain, and finish with one last In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.

  • The 38,739-nautical mile route will also include stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Newport, Rhode Island (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France). A 24-hour pit-stop in The Hague is scheduled between France and Sweden.

  • The next two editions will be contested in a new high-performance boat, the Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht Design in the United States and built by a consortium of boatyards in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Switzerland.

  • The new 65-foot (19.8-metre) monohull racing yachts will be strictly One Design and delivered “ready to sail” for the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. The boats incorporate the latest video, satellite and content production facilities to further enhance the Onboard Reporter programme that has been in place since 2008-09.

  • Six teams have been announced so far. The all-female Team SCA is the first all-women's team to compete in the race since 2001-02. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is once again skippered Britain's twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker. Dongfeng Race Team come from China and is backed by Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle. Team Brunel from the Netherlands is skippered by race veteran Bouwe Bekking. Team Alvimedica, the youth challenge will be led by All American Ocean Racing and carry a double Turkey/USA flag. A Spanish entry has been confirmed and the name of the team will be announced shortly.

  • The previous Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by Frenchman Franck Cammas, in July 2012.

  • The previous Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by Frenchman Franck Cammas, in July 2012.



Back to the news list