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Diving Dreams Take the Plunge: New PADI Five Star Academy Opens in Maldives

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Maldives’ first and only PADI Five Star Career Development Center, the Maldivian Academy of Diving, has officially opened its doors in K. Himmafushi. This new academy signifies a major step forward for professional dive training in the Maldives.

The Academy is dedicated to providing top-tier, professional-level dive training programs that meet the most rigorous standards set by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). They recently concluded their inaugural PADI Instructor Development Course on March 3rd, and their next PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Course is scheduled for July 29th to August 13th, 2024.

Leading the Academy is Adam Ashraf, a PADI Platinum Course Director for both 2022 and 2023. For the past decade, Ashraf has been running Dive Desk, a highly successful dive center in Malé. In fact, Dive Desk was the most successful PADI professional development center in the Maldives in 2023, earning the prestigious PADI EMEA Platinum Professional Development Excellence Award. This award recognizes the center’s exceptional performance in training new dive professionals, with Dive Desk being the only Maldivian center and one of only ten in the entire Europe, Middle-East & Africa (EMEA) region to receive this recognition.

Platinum status for both the Course Director and the Dive Center is not given lightly. It’s awarded based on a strict criteria of the number of professional-level certifications issued by PADI. Adding to Dive Desk’s accolades, they were also awarded the PADI Outstanding Contribution to People and Humanity Award last month for their dedication to fostering opportunities for Maldivians in the diving industry.

Despite a decade of success and consistently running the top PADI professional development programs in the Maldives for the past seven years, Dive Desk faced challenges. Limited space at their facility and the high cost of accommodation for students staying in Malé for extended periods were significant hurdles.

The Maldivian Academy of Diving was established specifically to address these issues. Located in Himmafushi, the Academy offers a more spacious learning environment and affordable accommodation options for students, all within close proximity to the capital city. The Academy will soon be offering on-site dorm rooms as well.

The Academy caters to all levels of diving experience, from those just beginning their underwater journey to seasoned divers seeking to become instructors. They offer a comprehensive range of courses and certifications to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to achieve their diving goals.

The opening of the Maldivian Academy of Diving represents a significant milestone in Adam Ashraf’s ongoing mission to empower Maldivian youth to pursue careers in the diving industry.

For more information dive into www.divedesk.mv

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Siyam World Maldives to host multitude of Spring Football Camps by international legends

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As part of its ongoing line-up of five-star experiences, Siyam World Maldives kicked off a series of unforgettable spring football camps featuring star players Wayne Bridge, Adrian San Miguel Castillo, Francesco Totti, and Michael Owen.

With Spring symbolizing new beginnings, Siyam World Maldives encouraged guests to let their football skills blossom over a series of football camps at its state-of-the-art sports complex and FIFA size soccer pitch at The World Sports Arena. Participants enjoyed world-class coaching and immersive experiences designed to enhance their football techniques and passion for the sport.

The action-packed schedule began with Spanish goalkeeper Adrian San Miguel Castillo, who graced the sandy shores from 19th to 23rd March. Adrian, a key player for Liverpool FC and the Andalusia National team, helped younger guests understand how to deal with pressure and develop key life skills, including a performance mindset.

Next on the roster was Wayne Bridge, the renowned English left-back, who returned to Siyam World for a second time already, from 22nd to 31st March. With his infectious energy and wealth of experience from clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City, Wayne inspired guests to “tackle” challenges head-on and score big on and off the field.

Following Wayne’s lead was the legendary Francesco Totti, lighting up Siyam World for a second time as well, from 28th March to 4th April. Known for his flair and loyalty to AS Roma, Totti brought a touch of Italian passion to the Maldives, teaching participants the art of precision and creativity in football.

Once described by Maradona as “the best player he has ever seen”, the gifted World Cup winner and legendarily loyal one-club player (AS Roma) will be on hand to help holidaymakers hone their football skills and play to their full potential.

Closing out the star-studded lineup was Michael Owen, the youngest-ever Ballon d’Or winner, who graced Siyam World from 1st to 5th April as part of the recently announced partnership with Football Escapes. Michael’s lightning-fast moves and goal-scoring prowess electrified the pitch, inspiring a new generation of football stars. Throughout the action-packed week, participants savored daily football sessions led by Owen, a team of UEFA-licensed coaches, and internet sensation Eman – popularly known as SV2 from his viral YouTube skills videos.

Dressed in their personalized Rascal training kits, young players aged from five to 15 seized the perfect opportunity to refine all aspects of their game, from tactics to technical skills. To add to the holiday experience, families enjoyed a memorable parents’ match, providing moms and dads with a chance to showcase their skills on the pitch.

Later this year, and in collaboration with Football Escapes, Rio Ferdinand will also be hosting a football camp from 28 October to 1 November. One of the most decorated English footballers of all time and famous for being one of world’s best defenders, Ferdinand will be bringing the skills he learned whilst playing for West Ham, Manchester United and Leeds United plus the England national team.

Ausy Waseem, Resort Manager at Siyam World highlights: “At Siyam World, we are undoubtedly a paradise for sports enthusiasts, offering exceptional facilities for both water and land sports. My passion for football, which began in childhood collecting jerseys of football legends, is embodied in our FIFA-regulation football field. We host many football aficionados, including owners of prized jerseys and past champions who still share a deep love for the game. Siyam World is where sportsmanship thrives, providing an unparalleled destination for active travelers.”

The incredible resort has had the pleasure of hosting several other esteemed football legends. Italian champions Nicola Ventola graced the resort in January, while Bobo Vieri and Marco Materazzi also showcased their skills on the pitch. Joining them were players like Juan Sebastián Verón, Esteban Cambiasso, Roberto Pires, Eric Abidal, Carlos Puyol, and Jay Jay Okocha, creating an unforgettable lineup of football stars at Siyam World.

For the full holiday experience, Siyam World ensures guests have as much fun off as on the pitch. The unapologetically quirky, all-embracing five-star all-inclusive island destination transcends cultures and borders to offer guests an ever-expanding array of ‘never-seen-before’ experiences – from the Indian Ocean’s biggest floating water park to the Maldives’ first resort horse ranch. The natural 54-hectare island resort boasts an enticing variety of 16 accommodation categories ranging from 89 to 3,000 square metres, from lush Pool Beach Villas, expansive Beach Suites and breathtaking Beach Residences, to playful overwater Villas complete with irresistible water slides. An exclusive enclave, The Residences at Siyam World, also features stunning Grand Water Pavilions and 1–4-bedroom residences with private pools. All accommodation types overlook the pristine Maldivian waters, come with direct access to the ocean and feature generously proportioned indoor and outdoor living spaces with private pools.

Siyam World, Maldives is located in the popular Noonu Atoll, a mere 40 minutes’ direct seaplane ride from Velana International Airport, and also accessible via a 30-minute domestic flight to Maafaru Airport followed by a 10-minute speedboat trip.

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Catch the wind with Kitesurfing World Champion Youri Zoon at COMO Cocoa Island

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Embark on an exhilarating kitesurfing odyssey from May 6th to 20th, 2024, at COMO Cocoa Island alongside Youri Zoon, celebrated for seizing the kitesurfing world championship twice. Under his seasoned guidance, amplify your kitesurfing prowess, whether you’re a neophyte craving the fundamentals or a seasoned aficionado striving for intricate manoeuvres and airborne thrills.

Kitesurfing merges windsurfing, surfing, and wakeboarding for a dynamic water sport. Using controllable kites, riders harness wind power to glide across the ocean’s surface while being set against the backdrop of endless horizons and azure waters.

Throughout his residency, Zoon will conduct guided kitesurfing sessions, offering novices a gentle introduction to the sport or empowering veterans to elevate their abilities. Additionally, Zoon will host enlightening COMO Conversations, delving into his personal journey to kitesurfing eminence and the obstacles he surmounted along the way.

Guests may arrange activities with Zoon at their leisure, with plenty of time to make the most of our private island comforts, from massage treatments at COMO Shambhala to sandbank dinners under the stars and more.

Hailing from the Netherlands, Zoon’s affinity for kiteboarding burgeoned at the tender age of 13. A prodigious talent, he swiftly amassed accolades, securing victories at the Junior European Championships and Dutch Nationals in his inaugural year. Subsequently clinching the world title in 2011 and 2012, Zoon’s enduring passion for the sport fuels his ongoing commitment to mentorship and coaching, ensuring his legacy endures both on and off the water.

Nestled within South Male Atoll, COMO Cocoa Island beckons discerning travelers with its intimate enclave of 33 overwater villas. Renowned for its iconic Dhoni Water Villas, which pay homage to Maldivian maritime heritage, this idyllic retreat offers a sanctuary of tranquillity and indulgence. Accessible via a scenic 40-minute speedboat journey from Velana International Airport, COMO Cocoa Island promises an unrivalled blend of luxury and seclusion.

For details on COMO Hotels and Resorts or to plan your next escape, please visit https://www.comohotels.com/cocoaisland.

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Sheraton Maldives hosts successful second season of Full Moon Futsal Cup

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Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa celebrated the culmination of the highly anticipated Full Moon Futsal Cup on March 31, 2024. The tournament, which commenced on March 17th, brought together 12 teams from neighboring resorts in Malé Atoll, fostering a spirit of friendly competition and camaraderie.

SO/ Maldives emerged victorious after a thrilling final match, securing the coveted title of Full Moon Futsal Cup Champions 2024. Mohamed El Aghoury, General Manager of Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, presented the winning team with the Championship trophy and gold medals during a closing ceremony. Additional prizes, medals, and certificates were awarded to recognize the exceptional talent displayed by all participants.

“We are honored to have hosted and participated in such a vibrant tournament,” Mohamed El Aghoury commented, reflecting on the event’s success. “The Full Moon Futsal Cup celebrates not only sportsmanship but also fosters strong bonds within the resort community.”

Throughout the tournament, all teams showcased exceptional skill, determination, and teamwork, captivating spectators and fellow competitors alike. Notably, Sheraton Maldives’ own associate teams, Team Sheraton and Team Furana FC, participated with commendable spirit.

This involvement aligns with Marriott International’s Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) initiative, which prioritizes fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel valued. The participation of the Young Professionals ARG team specifically exemplifies the group’s dedication to community building, skill development, and mentorship. The tournament provided a platform to spotlight the energy and potential of young professionals, promoting their growth and contributing to the organization’s future success.

Extending beyond a sporting event, the Full Moon Futsal Cup embodies the values of unity, friendship, and healthy competition. This aligns with Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa’s commitment to fostering community connections and Marriott International’s TakeCare philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of physical well-being among associates.

The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa extends its sincere gratitude to all participating teams, supporters, sponsors, and organizers who contributed to the resounding success of the Full Moon Futsal Cup 2024. The resort eagerly anticipates continuing this tradition of sporting excellence and camaraderie in the years to come.

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