The Special Olympics Oman Association is participating in the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017, which begins today in Austria. Four Omani athletes are joining 2,700 others, representing 107 countries competing in nine different disciplines.
The Sultanate will also be represented in the Special Olympics Global Youth Leaders’ Summit by Safwat Al Kharousi and Faisal Al Harassi, who will be presenting their art project “No Forward Backward”. The six-day summit will explore the theme ‘Social Impact for a Unified Generation’ and will bring together young people with and without intellectual disabilities from 18 countries around the world to learn, network and share best practices.
At a press conference held earlier in the week, H.H. Sayyid Faisal bin Turki Al Said, President of Special Olympics Oman, said “These athletes have been working tirelessly for the opportunity to represent their country in this global event. Beyond medals, their participation shines a light on the immense capabilities people with intellectual disabilities possess.”
He added, “They are an inspiration to each and every one who has supported them, and coached them and to those who will be cheering for them in Austria and Oman.”
Representing Oman in the Special Olympics Winter Games 2017 are 20-year-old Khaled Al Farsi, 27-year-old Raya Al Husaini, 22-year-old Shatha Al Husaini, and 17-year-old Abdulrahman Al Ruqadi. They will be competing in the Snowshoeing race for 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x 100 relay mix. Each athlete in this ‘dream team’ was selected for his and her perseverance, skill, and passion, qualities that have carried them from one personal success to the other.
“Research shows that sand resistance is higher than snow, therefore our athletes have been preparing for the Snowshoeing race by training in the desert and on the beach which in turn has helped build their abilities and skills,” explained His Highness.
His Highness also underscored the important role families, supervisors and partners, as well as the public and private sectors play in creating a nurturing and encouraging support system for both the athletes and the Association. “We would not be able to advocate and raise awareness about the potential of people with intellectual disabilities without their help. It is only by working together, in the same spirit of the Special Olympics, that we can improve their way of life and integrate them into society,” he concluded.
The Special Olympics Oman Association works to integrate people with intellectual disabilities into society. Through its various programs, the Association aims to develop the behavioral, physical, and professional skillsets of its members. Its mandate is centered on raising awareness on the needs of people with intellectual disabilities, encouraging their participation in social, cultural, sports, health, professional and recreational activities, in collaboration with government and non-government entities. The Association also works with the families of people with intellectual disabilities, involving them in programs, initiatives and events that are designed for the benefit of their children; all the while promoting a culture of volunteerism.