Oman Sail has successfully trained over 40 Omani girls aged 8-12 from government schools as part of the ‘Women’s Sailing Initiative’ in partnership with Occidental of Oman, Inc (Oxy Oman). At a special ceremony held at Oman Sail’s headquarters attended by parents, Oman Sail coaches and mentors, Oxy Oman’s representatives recognised the achievements of the newly-certified instructors and schoolgirls.

Designed to empower the sporting ambitions of Omani women, the first phase of the programme armed six female sailors with the necessary skills and knowledge to become certified instructors. Local schoolgirls were then introduced to the sport in the second part of the initiative in an effort to broaden their horizons and begin shaping the next generation of Omani female sailors.

“The programme has taught young Omani girls and women the benefits of an active lifestyle and set them on the path to what could be a prosperous sporting career,” said Hussam Al Nabhani, Vice President of Corporate and External Affairs at Oxy Oman. “The value of this initiative lies in its longevity and how it acted as a catalyst that enabled participants to realise their potential for greater prospects, which can extend beyond sport into their education, professional and family lives in the future. We hope our partnership with Oman Sail sets the standard as a shining example of how to innovatively enact social change to benefit people across the Sultanate.”

David Graham, Oman Sail CEO, said, “We thank Oxy Oman for sharing our vision in helping develop women’s sport in Oman. Together we can change the individual lives of young women across the country. The commitment shown by the girls in this programme proves the potential for women to succeed in the sport of sailing. We anticipate that this will serve as an inspiration to get females on the water and with our expert coaching, I am convinced it will lead to international success.” 

Newly-certified instructor, Marwa Al Khaifi, said, “I have to thank Oxy Oman and Oman Sail for the chance to learn sailing and develop as a person. Sailing has changed my life and I have seen first-hand how participating in sport and healthy activities can have a positive impact on women in Oman. The children joining the programme are incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and gain valuable skills while having fun. This is the first step in a long and exciting journey that I have seen can lead to great things and the chance to represent my country on the water.”

Oxy’s commitment to the youth of Oman extends beyond sporting achievement to highlight the health and psychological benefits of a healthy lifestyle at a young age. Studies have shown that sport promotes character-building skills such as leadership and responsibility, while also setting children on the path to a healthy and active adulthood and helping to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and childhood obesity.

The female sailors now have the opportunity to join Oman Sail’s Women’s Programme, established in 2012 to promote the sport as a fun and healthy activity for women, and continue their development in the youth clubs, race clubs and national squads. Operating the first and only all-female sailing team in the region, Oman Sail is working towards further building and expanding the team into new classes and races.