The ‘Freestyle Aquatics at Aspire’, initiated by Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) for people with special needs has witnessed 840 hours of aquatics training sessions since it was first launch in 2016. The aquatic training sessions comprises of swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling lessons.

The non-profit programme, jointly organised by AZF and Freestyle Aquatics, trained 27 participants with special needs, aged five years old and above.

People with special needs are trained by highly-skilled trainers under the programme
People with special needs are supervised by highly-skilled trainers under the programme

According to AZF Director of PR and Communication Nasser Abdullah Al Hajri, sports is not exclusive to a particular category of people; it is, in fact suitable for all ages and physical abilities. He said that at Aspire Zone, they support people with special needs.

This is the only programme in Qatar that provides swimming and diving training sessions under the supervision of specialised trainers who 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.’

This AZF initiative started in November 2016 when Aspire opened its indoor pool in Aspire Dome, the largest multi-purpose facility of its kind in the world. It was co-founded by Kathleen Bates and Jojo Musa, two volunteer coaches from Freestyle Aquatics.

Bates said they are incredibly proud to have successfully provided more than 840 hours of training to the AZF programme. The programme focuses on developing a training plan for each individual and exercises are done on a regular basis at least twice a week.

More than 27 participants are training with us, some of them are not able to walk, but 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 a central pillar of the programme has been so valuable, and we have no doubt that it encouraged families to register.’

Freestyle Aquatics for people with special needs makes a big splash at Aspire
Freestyle Aquatics at Aspire has been especially beneficial to children 

According to the mother of one participant Delilah Desouza, her son started his training programme 11 months ago, and she can see just how much he has developed over the training period.

He is diagnosed with speech delay and 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 CSR programme. It builds on AZF’s existing efforts to provide people with disabilities opportunities to pursue their favourite sport throughout the year. Creating such opportunities encourages people to maintain active and healthy lifestyles, and help them feel that they too, are part of the local community.

Check out this link for more information about Freestyle Aquatics at Aspire.