Four athletes to compete in Austria

By Lakshmi Kothaneth — MUSCAT: MARCH 12 – Four Omani athletes leave to Austria for the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 from March 14th to 25th in Austria.  As the Omani athletes will join 2,700 others representing 107 countries competing in nine different disciplines, the Sultanate will also be represented in the Special Olympics Youth Leaders.
The Chairman of the Special Olympics to Oman and Representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the World Special Olympics said, “This is all about integrating people who are intellectually challenged and to be part of something big and giving them an opportunity to represent the country. Sports has empowered them. They have already made their families proud of them. They have made people look at them with a difference — not a cause for charity, instead they are now contributing by competing in sports.”
“We will be part of an international programme by participating in the game called snowshoeing and for the first time we have athletes who are females participating from Oman. Along with the sports we will be participating in the initiative called Leader’s Programme.  It is going to be an honour for us to be able to participate. Beyond medals, their participation shines a light on the immense capabilities people with intellectual disabilities possess.”
The athletes representing Oman are Khaled al Farsi, 20, Raya al Husaini, 27, Shatha al Husaini, 22, and Abdulrahman al Ruqaidi, 17.
The Sultanate will 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.
Parents, meanwhile, expressed their gratitude by highlighting how sports through Special Olympics brought in changes in behaviour.  The impact has also been on the psychology of the family, Ali bin Mohammed al Farsi, explained that the whole experience has made the family proud of their son Khaled Ali al Farsi who would be representing the Sultanate in Austria Winter Olympics.
“It does not matter what the results are, it is the participation at such an international level — to be part of something so big and great,” Ali said.
Sayyid Faisal also underscored the important role of 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.
The Special Olympics Oman Association works to integrate people with intellectual disabilities into society.