Muscat: Modern lifestyle poses a challenge to the health of the youth, but the Ministry of Sports says it is determined to help young Omanis lead a balanced life and maintain their mental and physical health through developing necessary infrastructure in all the governorates.
The ministry says that International Youth Day, which is being observed today under the theme 'Youth and Mental Health', brings to attention an issue that is crucial to maintaining the health of the society as a whole.
"The Sultanate will celebrate 2014 International Youth Day along with the rest of the world. It is a good opportunity to raise awareness about this important subject among the youth and all the parties involved," said the ministry.
It noted, "Since the dawn of the Renaissance of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said — May God protect him — there has been a great interest in the youth sector and conditions have been conducive for the upbringing of healthy and intellectually and physically balanced youth, inspired by the values and principles of the authentic heritage of Oman.
"And as a result of these wise policies, the Omani youth, from our perspective, are active and aware and civilised and adhere to their roots while being open to other cultures in a balanced way, which is reflected positively in the indicators related to general fitness and mental health and in low rates of mental illness among young Omanis."
According to the ministry, His Majesty has instructed to make a provision for financial support of OMR1 million to each sports club from among those clubs that are affiliated with the Ministry of Sports for the implementation of infrastructure projects and supply of the necessary equipment.
The Ministry of Sports is currently preparing and setting in place a forum for creativity and youth initiatives and will announce two new awards in September.
It says that its efforts are reflected in the establishment of sports clubs, which are the incubators for young people to practice sports, cultural, art and literary activities.
Currently, there are 44 clubs and the ministry has plans to create three centres in the wilayat of Izki, the wilayat of Mahout and the wilayat of Dhank.
Regarding the challenges facing the Omani youth, the ministry said that one of the main challenges is the emergence of a modern lifestyle which means less physical exercise among students in educational institutions at all levels and among young people in general. The time that they have on their hands, if not used appropriately, will negatively affect the mental health and the behaviour of young people.
The ministry has implemented a variety of youth programmes aimed at investing in the energy of the youth and unearthing their talents in innovative ways.
According to information provided to the Times of Oman, it has launched a programme called 'Youth Creations' aimed at giving youth clubs wide open spaces to showcase their creative abilities in various fields and compete with each other.
In addition, in order to integrate youth activities and to make these feasible throughout the year, the ministry has been supporting and promoting 'summer' activities for the youth from June 1 to August 30 each year.
Other programmes include 'Youth' programme and the 'Clubs', Youth Camps', one of the successful programmes that benefits young people aged 18 to 22 and represents an opportunity for them to exchange experiences and indulge in positive interaction.
Additionally, it has been strengthening the existing programmes, including the 'Summer Sports' programme and 'Encourage Your Team' venture which are constantly being developed in terms of quality, number and locations as demand rises.
The ministry has also developed plans to improve the existing facilities and has taken a number of steps to implement the directives by bidding for the implementation of the required projects that have been identified, on a priority level. This will significantly speed up the development of the infrastructure related to youth and sports.
"The ministry has to strengthen this trend by adopting a comprehensive plan for the establishment of sports centres in all the governorates that do not have sports clubs to ensure that young people have the opportunity to practice and develop their hobbies and different skills and can properly utilise their leisure time in a suitable manner. The projects are in an advanced stage of implementation," the ministry said.
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