Since the Youth Programme was established one year ago, Oman Sail has directed its efforts and resources at equipping local people from across Oman with the skills to coach talented young sailors coming through the sailing schools and the community programme. By the end of 2020, there will be eight sailing schools spanning the coastline of Oman, which will have introduced 70,000 Omanis to sailing.
The sailing schools will be managed by an Omani team, and have clear guidance and continual development from Oman Sail’s international experts. The instructors for each school are selected from the local area. They are trained and qualified to the highest international standards.
All the sailing schools follow Oman Sail’s ‘learn to sail programme’, which has been accredited by ISAF (world sailing governing body). This ensures that high standards are maintained and all sailing schools are inspected regularly. From the outset, the focus was on high quality training aimed at motivated and passionate coaches who valued the importance of rekindling Oman’s maritime heritage and took pride in creating role models who could achieve sporting excellence in sailing and clearly convey its blessings to the people of Oman to create good citizens.
Abdul Aziz al Shidi is one such coach. The Oman Sail youth sailing coordinator was one of the first to be involved in the youth programme and although at first, he thought he wanted to be a youth coach. Abdul Aziz realised, after travelling abroad and seeing first-hand the level of youth sailing, that the level required was very high but that other countries had no more advantages than sailors and coaches in Oman. He said, “With hard work we can achieve anything we set our minds to.
“I am conscious that we need a lot of people to reach our goals and my work now is not only to become a great coach but to teach others how to be great coaches.” As a child, Suhail al Maiyahi never had the opportunity to sail but after becoming involved with Oman Sail, now dreams of coaching young Omani sailors to a world championship title. “When I was a child, I had no idea what an optimist was and feel sad that opportunities to sail were non-existent.
Things have changed now and youngsters can reach for the skies,” he said. Said Al Araimi has been involved in the Oman Sail Youth Program from the start.
He is the youth sailing coordinator but his goal is to run a sailing school in his hometown. “My involvement with the Oman Sail Youth Program has improved both my technical and my leadership skills and has made me realize the importance of the pathway, from community sailing to high level racing,” he said.