Omar al Ghailani came from a family of sea lovers with several of the men in his family getting a career in the naval industry. While they all share the same love and adoration for the ocean, his dream perhaps is the hardest to achieve.
He spends most of his days filling his lungs with oxygen, holding to that air as he dives deep into the water. Anything less than 100 metres for him has been doable. Beneath the ocean, he loves seeing not only fishes and the corals. It is his passion to discover the secrets of the deep but he also sets his eyes into setting a record in freediving.
“Personally, the love of discovering the secrets of the sea is equal to discovering the secrets of myself’’, Omar said.
He added that he was always captivated by the language and creatures of the sea.
As a freediver, he has seen countless marine creatures that non-swimmers haven’t seen in person. To be a lover of the ocean means learning how to co-exist not only with the friendly ones but the challenging kind.
One of the most beautiful creatures he has seen, as he explained, is the seahorse. While sharks also had sown fear into the hearts of many, he weirdly refers to them as his friends.
He said, “People have spread a lot of wrong information about some sea creatures. Sharks, for example, do not always attack people. They are not without reason ferocious. They can also sense danger as we do’’, he said.
With several of his family members having a naval background, his love for the sea blossomed because he kept hearing their discussions at home. His young mind was fascinated by the talks about the ocean that when he finally was old enough to explore the waters on his own, he felt at home deep beneath the water.
Omar eventually became the first diving coach in freediving in the Sultanate of Oman. His first freediving experience happened in Kuwait in 2008 when he registered for a diving course there.
“This course made a huge difference in my life. It taught me how to evolve myself in freediving correctly and how to apply all the safety disciplines’’, Omar said.
As a professional freediver, he has established himself as one of the best in the freediving world when he set and broke several records in different diving categories not only in the Gulf or Arab countries but including Asian championships. The last championship he participated in was the AIDA Freediving World Competition 2020 (COVID-19 Special Edition) held in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. He won gold in the CWT Bi-fins 85m category and bronze for overall performance.
The training continues
“Months before the competition, I was committed to daily training, and I don’t waste a day without training. All this effort wasn’t in vain. This record meant a lot to me because it was achieved during exceptional difficult circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but I always say that difficult environment creates champions,” he said.
“I had lung injury two days before the competition. Thanks to Allah, the recovery was very fast and I was able to return to the competition’’, he added.
The main equipment that diver wears is the diving suit, fins, glasses and some of the divers use weights. The best fins are the carbon fins because they are light and highly flexible and give very excellent performance as it reduces the physical effort. Whenever the fins are of good quality, the better the diving performance.
Diving contributed to developing Omar’s personality in several aspects, the most important is respecting every environment. To be in the depth of another environment gave Omar the chance to meditate on Allah’s creatures. It taught him patience and raised his awareness of safety.
“My level of mental strength increased as well as physical strength. Diving taught me that I have a high ability to reach the goal, no matter how difficult it is’’, he said.
He added, “Technology helped me to improve my diving skills through the diving watch that become one of the essential tools that divers should possess. The diving watch helps me to know the duration of the dive, the depth that I have reached and the speed of the dive. These are important details to improve my diving performance’’, Omar said.
While he has done several diving expeditions in many countries and different seas inside and outside Oman, Omar looks forward to diving in the Bahamas where the strongest diving championships in the world are held. He also looks forward to setting and breaking more records and ultimately putting the Omanis among the ranks of the best freedivers in the world.