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MENAFN - Times of Oman - 02/03/2010

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(MENAFN - Times of Oman) The Ministry of Sports Affairs launched an ambitious project to revitalise the Youth Centres across the Sultanate with a mission to nurture and produce the athletes for the future.

The new plans, which are being implemented since January this year, were revealed to the media by the ministry's sports development and welfare department during an official ceremony yesterday.

Addressing the media after the ceremony, Fahd Al Raisi, director-general of sports development and welfare, said: "These new plans are in continuation of what has been happening at various Youth Centres. But the aim of these new plans is to nurture young talented athletes with the help of professional coaches and make them ready for the future national teams.

We have been recruiting a number of foreign coaches as well as local coaches to train the athletes in different disciplines. We already have about 21 experienced coaches, mostly from the Arab world, and a number of Omani assistant coaches. We are coordinating with the Ministry of Education and we are happy to say that 635 kids have registered so far for various training programmes," he added.

Providing further details, Salim Said Al Mufadhali, director of national teams department, said: "These programmes cover sports like hockey, swimming, athletics, handball, basketball and volleyball. But all sports are not being taught in all seven Youth Centres.

The sports are allotted to each centre based on the region, availability of facilities and coaches as well as the interest in a given sport." "Besides the facilities and coaches, we also provide clothing and equipment for the trainees. The programme are open to children of ages 8 to 12 years (born between 1999 and 2003) age group.

Before accepting the kids into the programmes, we conduct an 'identification and assessment' test, which is done by our co-ordinators after speaking to the physical education teachers of particular schools. There will also be a medical test. "After the enrollment, the athletes will train at the Youth Centres four days a week for four years. During the Summer Festivals, which are already in vogue, we will be assessing the progress being made by the athletes.


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