MUSCAT: Euro Divers, in collaboration with the International Association for Handicapped Divers (IAHD), will be providing technical and professional assistance to the disabled in the country.

For this, IAHD recently appointed Tariq Jawad al Khabouri, founder, Oman Disabled Divers Association as the liaison manager. Speaking about the appointment, Gerard Oijnhausen, president of IAHD said, “We have appointed Tariq Khabouri as the liaison manager and we hope this collaboration benefits the community in Oman in a great way.”

According to Khabouri, the move is a positive one as the demand for diving among the physically challenged is increasing in Oman and there is a need for more trained volunteers. “The demand for this sport is increasing among the handicapped people. Diving gives them a sense of independence as they are in command of their body. We have seen success stories where people have gained confidence through this sport.”

However, the challenge is to get people who are committed to complete their training, added Khabouri. “One of the challenges is to get people to attend the diving classes. We need more committed Omanis to avail the services and complete their training so that the efforts of the association and instructors do not go in vain,” said Najat al Busaidy, head of occupational therapy, Armed Forces Medical Services.

Apart from being a sport, experts say diving is also therapeutic for the disabled. “Participants can feel the stiffness of muscles ease as they enter the water. After the first session itself, they were willing to enter the water. We need trained instructors who can help the physically challenged learn to dive. All they need is support and self-confidence. And, I could see that after each training session they became more confident,” said Dr Roswitha Prohaska, an expert on diving and hyperbaric medicine which is a crucial treatment following diving accidents.

ODDA has been organising diving courses for people with various disabilities across Oman on a regular basis. These courses help participants learn diving under the supervision of an experienced team comprising specialised instructors, doctors and physiotherapists.