World Sailing celebrates Oman’s first place in Paralympic development
by Oman Sail Mar 14 03:07 PDT
Para-sailors and coaches gathered at the Mussanah Barceló complex © Oman Sail
World Sailing kicked off its 2022 Paralympic Development Program with its first event to be held in the Sultanate of Oman.
Parasailors and coaches gathered at the Mussanah Barceló complex, home of Oman Sail, for a comprehensive program on and off the water. Sessions range from boat handling and racing skills to regatta rules and management, with specific opportunities for coaches to develop their high performance para sailing expertise.
“We are delighted to be in Oman for the very first time since the launch of our Paralympic development program in 2017,” said Catherine Duncan, Head of Training and Development at World Sailing. “We have seen over 210 sailors and coaches from 39 countries across six continents complete our program – now we are innovating in Oman.”
World Sailing’s Paralympic Development Program has launched the careers of several top para-sailors who currently compete at world championship level and has been instrumental in initiating and improving performance para-sailing programs in the whole world.
Oman in the spotlight
“Oman Sail has always prioritized inclusion, diversity and equality within the sport and the launch of Oman Sail SailFree’s parasailing program in 2019 – the first of its kind in the region – is a major step forward in the expansion of the sport, allowing us to create new opportunities in para-sailing,” said Khamis Al-Anbouri, Commercial Director of Oman Sail and Head of SailFree.
“Now, through World Sailing’s Paralympic Development Program, we have a valuable platform to pursue our ambitions to be a leader in para sailing and compete at the highest level by empowering athletes, teams and coaches, and improving our own ability to run regattas.
“Oman’s Vision 2040 has made these values a central goal throughout our company, so we are proud to focus on developing a team capable of representing the nation worldwide.
“We hope para-sailing will be brought back into the Paralympic Games to give our athletes the chance to shine on the biggest stage of all.”
Hassan Al Lawati, who started his first sailing experience last year with the SailFree programme, is now participating in World Sailing’s Paralympic development program in Oman: “When I started sailing it was a completely new thing to do, but what I liked the most about it is that it gives me motivation and personal challenge as well as opportunities to open new horizons. I learned a lot from the current sessions at Mussanah, specifically that they are designed to give us rewarding doses to grow and excel.
2022 crucial year for Paralympic sailing
Oman is the launch pad for a busy 2022 year of World Sailing’s Paralympic development programs. Next stop in the United States in June, Singapore in July, followed by Italy and South Africa – then Japan before the World Para Sailing Championships in Hiroshima on October 20 and 23 and back to Oman before the RS Venture SCS Para Sailing World Championship 23-27 November.
“We have clear evidence that our Paralympic development programs play a central role in the growth of Paralympic sailing around the world,” said David Graham, CEO of World Sailing. “Over the past five years, the number of nations with para-sailors competing internationally has increased by 30% – this is exciting in this crucial year for the recovery of para-sailing at the Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. 2028.”
Sailing at the LA28 Paralympic Games – #BacktheBid!
World Sailing officially launched its bid for the reinstatement of the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games last October, outlining strategic priorities to support the growth of the sport by 2023 by increasing global participation to 45 nations across 6 continents and increasing the youth participation from less than 30 to 20% of the total number of athletes and increase the number of female participants to 30% and ultimately achieve gender parity. At the same time, World Sailing launched the #SailtoLA “Back the Bid” campaign, supported by world-renowned sailors, sports personalities and para-sailors from around the world.
“Today in Oman, sailors and coaches are showing their support for the reintegration of sailing into LA28,” Graham said. “Sailing is for everyone, regardless of a person’s range of physical, sensory and intellectual abilities – we have so much to offer the Paralympic program and we are working with the International Paralympic Committee on this, because we continue our work towards reintegration.”