MUSCAT: Oman Sail’s commitment to the development of children through sailing has been boosted with the addition of Thales, the multinational and solution provider for defence, aerospace, security, space and transportation markets, as the new official support sponsor for the Community Sailing Programme at Mussanah Sailing School.

The partnership will enable 200 children from ten public schools around the Batinah governorate to participate in introductory sailing courses run by Oman Sail’s internationally certified instructors.

The new course will have two segments, spanning five weeks each designed to ignite children’s enthusiasm for the sport and build on that excitement through a series of fun and educational coaching sessions. The first course will be held on September 7 and the second course will be in October.

“It is the commitment to learning and development that appealed to Thales and persuaded us to back Oman Sail’s Community Sailing Programme initiative in Mussanah,” said Thales Mark Donderwinkel, country director, Thales Oman.

“When we saw what Oman Sail was doing and heard their ideas for engaging Omani youth and the emphasis they place on social development, we wanted to get involved,” he added.

Oman Sail’s Community Sailing Programme was set up in 2010 to teach 70,000 Omani children to sail by 2020. Four sailing schools are now up and running with another four scheduled to be built and operational in the next six years and 16,500 children across Oman have been introduced to sailing since 2008.

Initiatives to train coaches and instructors as well as race management have proved highly successful in producing talented sailors who are building their skills by competing at international events. In the past year, a total of 27 athletes from Oman Sail, including 11 youngsters under 16 years of age, have represented their country in international regattas and competitions. Six of these have competed in Olympic class regattas or Extreme Sailing Series events.

“We are delighted to welcome Thales on-board to support this initiative which we are confident will uncover new talent, not just in sailing but across all strands of activities that may be useful to Oman’s future,” said David Graham, Oman Sail CEO.

“The sponsorship will help lay the foundations for nurturing new sailing talent and developing it so that Oman can compete at the international level and is fully prepared to compete at the Olympic Games,” he added.