Muscat: Oman’s CISM World Cup winning military football team as well as young Omani racing champions Shihab and Mohammed Al Habsi were the centre of attention as the Ministry of Sports Affairs feted the achievers of 2016 at the Awards Gala on Monday evening.
The award ceremony, which honours medal winning Omani athletes every year, was organised at the Grand Millennium Hotel under the auspices of Minister of Sports Affairs Sheikh Saad bin Mohammed Al Mardhouf Al Saadi and was attended by Oman Olympic Committee chief Sheikh Khalid Al Zubair, the heads and officials of various sports associations, committees and clubs as well as the representatives of sponsoring companies.
Though the ceremony, as in the past, was aimed at celebrating the success of Omani athletes in 2016, the Ministry has also honoured the Military Football Team whose World Cup winning exploits came in January this year.
The team, among the first to be honoured and received resounding applause, under local coach Mohanna Said lifted the second CISM World Cup after a 4-1 shootout victory over Qatar at the iconic Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on January 28.
While more than 400 athletes were feted during the evening, this year’s award ceremony also saw the Ministry of Sports Affairs honouring former heads of five associations -- football’s Sayyid Khalid Al Busaidi, hockey’s Sheikh Mahfood bin Ali Juma Al Juma, tennis’ Mutassim Al Zadjali, athletics’ Sheikh Saif bin Hilal Al Hosni and handball’s Sheikh Sultan Al Hosni -- for their contribution to the development of respective sports.
The ceremony began with a welcome speech by Sheikh Rashad bin Ahmed Al Hinai, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Sports Affairs, during which he mentioned the significance of the ceremony and how the Omani athletes did the country proud with their achievements in 2016.
During 2016, more than 400 Omani athletes representing 18 associations and committees excelled in various regional and international events, bringing home a total of 194 medals, including 69 gold, 61 silver and 64 bronze.
The other teams and athletes honoured on the occasion included Oman beach football and handball team who won silver medals in the 5th Asian Beach Games organised in Vietnam, the football team who finished second in the GCC Olympic (U23) Teams Championship, the football team who bagged the third place in the 3rd GCC Festival for Juniors in Qatar, the national volleyball, swimming, equestrian, camel racing, bodybuilding, cycling teams and paralympic athletes.