(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) It was another first for Oman when a certification ceremony was hosted for women who successfully completed a sailing programme.
Guest of honour Sayyid Tariq bin Shabib Al Said gave away certificates to 21 youngsters at the Al Bustan Palace in Muscat.
The girls made history for successfully completing the instructor sailing programme accredited by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
In a colourful ceremony at the picturesque hotel, it was the apt tribute to the brave efforts of the Omani girls.
After the traditional musical start, the welcome note was presented by Mohammed Al Eissa, Regional PR Manager of Oman Sail.
A large number of journalists were invited to get a first hand knowledge of the Omani trainees.
It is a huge step in the development of women's sports in general and the GCC. It can prove a gateway for Arab women to take part in sports.
Eissa said, "Oman feels proud to have an all-female sailing team and the country is determined to help more and more women join sports."
Launched just seven months ago, the Oman Sail Women's Sailing Programme was conceived as part of the wider vision to rekindle Oman's maritime heritage.
The programme comes in line with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Al Said's vision to release the Omani citizen's creative energies, bring out their latent potential, develop their talents and skills and enable them to make a greater contribution.
This vision underpins the whole project and drives all who are involved.
Over 150 women aged from 18 to 35 from across Oman originally applied to become part of the programme.
Top female sailors from abroad were recruited as mentors and coaches, including Britain's double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson OBE.
Under their expert guidance, Oman's aspiring young female sailors worked hard leading them to the certification.
For 22-year-old Amal Al Braiki Al Tobi from Mussanah, who is now a member of the Oman Sail Women's National Sailing Team, it was a proud day for all her family and a fitting reward for the hard work that she and the other women have put in over the past months. "The programme was tough but fantastic. At the beginning I was a bit hesitant about whether I would be able to do this, but now, every day I am learning something new and the hesitation is gone and I am enjoying the sun and sea.
"I am so proud of what we have all achieved in such a short period and am looking forward to the challenges ahead. We have been given such an amazing opportunity by our beloved country and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Al Said. We will continue to challenge ourselves, learn and work hard to make Oman proud."
The 21 newly accredited female sailing instructors will now be fully employed at Oman Sail Sailing schools where their skills will be passed onto a new generation.
They will continue with an intense training programme to develop women who could compete on the international stage.