In partnership with bp Oman, Oman Sail and Oman Paralympic Committee has prepared the Oman national parasailing team to compete in three upcoming international championships in Europe. Through extensive training in line with safety standards, 10 Omani sailors have been selected to compete from the ‘SailFree’ programme.

This achievement is a result of the ‘SailFree’ programme – launched in December 2019 – with the aim of introducing people with disabilities (specially with physical impairment) to the sport of sailing. The team will compete in the Belgian Sailability Cup, France Hansa Class Championship and 2022 Hansa UK National Championships, representing Oman, with the aim of achieving high rankings as well as gain vital development, skills and experience for their future athletic career.

The team members include Ali Al Ghasaini, Zaher Al Atbi, Ghalya Al Jabri, Raiyan Al Mujaini, Hassan Al Lawati, Sami Al Sulaimi, Adil Al Siyabi, Muayad Al Sheriyani,Sultan Al Wahaibi and Hamad Al Subhi.

Shamsa Al-Rawahi, bp Oman social investment manager, commented: “In line with our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion agenda, the ‘SailFree’ programme has offered the unique opportunity for people with disabilities to compete in local, regional and international championships. I’ve seen the programme develop them beyond the skills of sailing. The programme has instilled confidence and capacity building skills to overcome challenges, chase their dream and work together as one team. We wish the team the best of luck and look forward to continue supporting this unique initiative.”

Dr. Khamis Al Jabri, CEO of Oman Sail, said: “The progress of the SailFree team has been consistently excellent so far. The opportunity to compete at three major championships this summer is vital to the ongoing development of the sailors. We have tailored our coaching scheme ahead of these events to prepare our sailors, and it’s time to put it to the test. We are very proud of our sailors for continuing to grow as athletes and as inspiring individuals, and we have high hopes for the future of SailFree as well as Oman’s ongoing participation in para sailing.”

Dr. Mansoor Al Tauqi, President of the Oman Paralympic Committee, added: “Over the years, the SailFree programme has introduced over 200 participants aged from 16 to 30 from communities across the country to the sports of sailing. Our partnership with bp and Oman Sail has helped equip sailors with athletic skills, resilience and problem-solving skills, laying the foundation for truly believing themselves in all aspects of their life and their sports career”