Freestyle Aquatics for people with special needs makes a big splash at Aspire
26 January 2019 – Doha, Qatar:
Aspire Zone Foundation’s (AZF) ‘Freestyle Aquatics at Aspire’ initiative for people with special needs has witnessed 840 hours of aquatics training sessions since its launch in 2016. The aquatic training sessions comprises of swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling lessons.
The non-profit programme, which is jointly organised by AZF and Freestyle Aquatics, trained 27 participants with special needs, aged 5 and above.
Speaking about the high turnout to the training sessions, Mr. Nasser Abdullah Al-Hajri, Director of PR and Communication at AZF, said: “Sports is not exclusive to a particular category of people, it is suitable for all ages and physical abilities. At Aspire Zone, we are always keen to support people with special needs through our world-class facilities, developed to the highest international standards.”
He added: “This is the only programme in Qatar that provides swimming and diving training sessions under the supervision of specialised trainers that genuinely gave up their time for this humanitarian mission. We invite institutions and organisations to support this initiative as it contributes to positively changing the lives of individuals with special needs.”
The Aspire Zone Foundation initiative started in November 2016 when AZF opened its indoor pool in Aspire Dome, the largest multipurpose facility of its kind in the world. It was co-founded by Kathleen Bates and Jojo Musa, two volunteer coaches from Freestyle Aquatics.
Commenting on the initiative, Kathleen Bates, co-founder and manager of Freestyle Aquatics said: “We’re incredibly proud that we’ve successfully provided more than 840 hours of training since the launch of AZF’s program. The programme focuses on developing a training plan for each individual. Exercises are done on a regular basis with each individual at least twice a week, and we thank them for all their hard work!”
The coach added: "More than 27 participants are training with us, some of them are not able to walk, however they enjoy swimming in Aspire Dome’s Olympic swimming pool.”
Bates explained that swimming can help people improve their confidence, overcome physical disabilities and prove to themselves and others that they can accomplish anything once they set their mind to it.
“Having Aspire as such a central pillar of the programme has been so valuable, and we’ve no doubt that it’s encouraged families to register”, the co-founder concluded.
Delilah Desouza, a mother of one of the participants, said; “My son started his training programme 11 months ago, and I can see just how much he has developed over this training period. He is diagnosed with a speech delay and a sensory processing disorder. After his swimming lessons, we can now hear some of his words clearly. The coaches are patient and dedicated and I can’t find any better programme for my son.”
Freestyle Aquatics at Aspire is part of AZF’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme and builds on AZF’s existing efforts to provide people with disabilities with opportunities to pursue their favourite sports throughout the year. Creating such opportunities encourages people to maintain active and healthy lifestyles, helping them feel included in Qatar’s vibrant local community scene has to offer.
Aspire Zone Foundation is gearing up to host another successful National Sport Day