Muscat's kids sign up in droves for sailing

Oman’s kids take to the water
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Everywhere the sailing fraternity attempts to interest a new generation of kids in the wonders of the sailing life. In Oman, a country with little modern sailing history, the kids are taking up sailing as though it's just been discovered - and it has, for them...

The response to the Oman Sail Summer Sailing Camps was impressive this year that attendance targets were exceeded at all three sailing schools and 60 talented new sailors were identified as having the potential to join the Oman Sail Youth Programme supported by Omantel and Oman Shipping Company.

The month long camps, which this year started on June 4, and ended on July 4, were open to all Omani children aged between eight and 16 years old and offered an opportunity to gain practical sailing experience with fully qualified sailing instructors. A total of 395 youngsters, including 56 girls, registered at their respective schools nationwide to attend the camps. The Wave Muscat attracted 146 youngsters, 18 of whom were girls, Mussanah marina had 136 children, including 17 girls while Marina Bandar al Rowdha had 113 youngsters, including 21 girls.

'Our target for 2013 was 112 youngsters per sailing school and were encouraged by the response. The numbers were way more than we expected,' said Adel al Abri’s Oman Sail’s community sailing program manager. Registration for the summer sailing camps is done through the Ministry of Education schools, the main aim being to spread awareness of the benefits of a healthy, sporty lifestyle and the power of sport to contribute to the development of Oman.

More specifically the summer camps offer the opportunity to discover the physical advantages of sailing in a structured environment and the chance to learn, develop and improve sailing skills. 'Our plan is to make sailing accessible to as many people in the community as possible. The broader the sailing base we build, the easier it becomes for us to spot and select new talent for our ambitious 'pathway to excellence' Youth Programme that will hopefully produce Oman’s first Olympic medallist,' said Abri.

'This year our instructors were excited to identify about 20 new sailors from each sailing school with the talent to join our youth clubs. They are all highly motivated, have excellent attitude and the potential to join the excellence programme.' Other stand out qualities displayed by these young sailors, who are all only about ten years old, were an ability to learn fast, being able to listen well and do all that was required of them and being able to respond well to instruction.

'Places are limited for the sailing summer camps as they have to fit into the school holidays and also because of the limited number of instructors but the response and feedback we get from the community is always so very encouraging.