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Saudi Arabia initiative aims to encourage people with disabilities into sport

Published: Updated:

Saudi Arabia is aiming to encourage people with disabilities into sport through a new country-wide initiative to foster inclusion and diversity.

The Saudi Ministry of Sports has officially launched the Fakhr (Pride) Program Initiative – a new campaign to develop, manage and implement adaptive sports opportunities for people with special needs.

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Announced by Minister of Sport Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Aa-Faisal, the Fakher program looks to engage people with disabilities in discovering and developing their athletic capabilities through a variety of local and international training camps and competitions.

Organized by the Saudi Arabia Paralympic Committee under the Quality of Life program, it supports the Kingdom’s Vison 2030 – a plan to reshape the country by lowering unemployment, increasing women’s participation, and diversifying opportunities.

Prince Abdul Aziz said: “The Fakher program…seeks to motivate those heroes whose circumstances did not prevent them from contributing and participating in the service of their country in various fields.”

“This unlimited support from our generous leadership will provide them with the appropriate sports environment, through the implementation of a number of rehabilitation and sports training programs at the highest levels, and the establishment of internal and external camps, to give them opportunities to compete and represent the country in local, regional, and international forums.”

Ahmed Al-Muqarin, president of the Fakher supreme committee, said the program would help inspire people with disabilities to participate in sports activities that will enhance physical and mental health, while providing social connection.

It is based on rehabilitating and assisting people with special needs, developing their sporting abilities, improving their quality of life, enhancing their community participation in sports activities and making them sports champions at a local and international level.

The program will be held over the course of a year, providing health and physical rehabilitation services, as well as training in one of four sports fields that best suit their abilities.

Shooting, weightlifting, basketball and athletics are among the sports offered, as well as prosthetic limbs and sports chairs.

The Fakher Program initiative also includes three local and international camps for around 350 Saudis, with the participation of trainers and physiotherapists. National champions of these competitions will then get the opportunity to join local sports clubs on a permanent basis.

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