Monday, 7th December 2020: In partnership with bp Oman, Oman Paralympic Committee and Oman Sail have marked today the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by officially unveiling the RS Venture Connect boats, specifically-designed for the region’s first para-sailing initiative programme, SailFree. The event was held under the patronage of H.E. Rashad Ahmed Mohammed Omer Al Hinai, Undersecretary, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, in front of Oman Sail’s Headquarters at Al Mouj Muscat Marina. As part of the celebration event, Oman Olympic Committee launched a dedicated website to be the destination for its members to obtain latest information about the events, programmes and services offered by the Committee.
On the occasion, The Chief Executive Officer of Oman Sail, Dr. Khamis Al Jabri, commented saying: “SailFree aims to make sailing accessible to all and will introduce people with physical impairment to the sport of sailing. The programme, targeting both men and women aged between 16 and 30 years to train at Oman Sail’s sailing schools in Al Mouj Muscat and Sur under guidance from the Oman Paralympic Committee. Participants will learn sailing, leadership, teamwork and communication skills using the highly-adaptable RS Venture Connect SCS sailing dinghy which can be quickly configured to suit sailors with a wide range of physical impairments and has been adopted by World Sailing for the Paralympic double-handed class”.
Engr. Yousuf Al Ojaili, President of bp Oman, added that: “We are proud to support and sponsor this programme, which is the first of its kind in our region and we hope that to re-enter this sport in the Paralympic Games through this programme and to establish a national team to represent the nation at the 2022 Para Sailing World Championships. We wish the participants all the success and we are proud of their efforts.”
Dr. Mansoor Al Tauqi, President of the Oman Paralympic Committee, commented: “This programme has great potential to change the lifestyles of hundreds of people with disabilities in the Sultanate of Oman; it provides a link for them to connect with their peers that practice this sport as well as positions Oman as a leader in para-sailing and Oman Sail as the model for others to follow, by creating a representative national Omani team. In addition, the committee’s official website was launched to develop a communication link between the community, partners and shareholders to highlight the achievements of the Omani champions with disabilities.”
It is worth mentioning that the first group of 31 SailFree participants were selected in March 2020 for a three-day leadership and sailing workshop at Al Mussanah Sports City which included many sailing training workshops and activities to develop their various skills associated such as leadership and critical thinking skills. 30 participants will be selected from the total of 105 at the end of the first phase of SailFree to progress onto the second and the third phase of the programme. The 30 candidates will be selected to try sailing, and 12 from this stage will be chosen to join Oman’s national para-sailing team, to represent Oman in international regattas including the 2022 Para Sailing World Championships.