Muscat: The United Thalassery Sports Club (UTSC), in association with the Oman Hockey Association, is gearing up to organise the Starcare Cup Gulf Hockey Fiesta at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on February 26.
The fiesta, which is mainly sponsored by Starcare Hospital, is the first of its kind hockey event to be organised in the Sultanate that will see participation of teams from all GCC countries.
The UTSC officially announced the launch of the regional hockey extravaganza during a media event organised at the Hotel Haffa House on Monday in the presence of Oman Hockey Association (OHA) General Secretary Mohammed Redha Taqi Al Lawati and Starcare Hospital CEO Dr Mohammed Naseem.
Speaking on the occasion, UTSC representative Sharzina Raffi said: “Over the years we have been conducting several sporting events, including cricket and football. But hockey has been our main sport in which we were able to organise a number of events and successfully involve all the hockey lovers.
“But this Starcare Cup Gulf Hockey Fiesta is entirely different from what we have hosted so far. It’s a bigger event that has attracted a lot of interest from teams and hockey enthusiasts of all GCC countries.
“It’s for the first time hockey teams of all GCC countries will be coming to Oman. So it’s a huge responsibility. We are working hard to have all arrangements in place. We are hoping to organise a very successful event,” she added.
“We are also hopeful of getting Asian Hockey Federation’s recognition for the event. AHF CEO ‘Dato’ Tayyib Ikram during his recent visit to Oman has promised to give the event an official recognition. The formalities are under way and once they are completed we are hopeful of getting the AHF recognition for our event,” she added.
India’s star goalkeeper and vice-captain Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh will be the chief guest at the Fiesta.
“We are delighted to announce Indian star Sreejesh will be the chief guest at the event,” she added.
“We would like to thank our main sponsors Starcare Hospital as well as the Oman Hockey Association, without whose support it would not have been possible for us to organise an event of such magnitude,” she said.
The UTSC official also thanked S.A.S. Naqvi, the former Oman national hockey coach and OHA consultant, and Team Coorg for their continued support to the UTSC activities.
Giving the details of the Fiesta, Event Director Salih Thatcher said: “This event has a lot of significance as it is for the first time we will be hosting teams with expatriate as well as the local citizens from all six GCC countries.”
“We will be hosting teams from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE. In all there will be 12 teams, including six local teams, one of which will be Oman Veterans squad,” he said.
“We are expecting a large turnout of local hockey lovers as well as those from outside for the daylong event, which will start at 8 a.m. and will last 8 p.m.,” he added.
A 'dream' event
Speaking on the occasion, Starcare Hospital CEO Dr Mohammed Naseem described the Fiesta as a ‘fantastic initiative’.
“By no means it’s a small tournament. It’s a huge event that has the potential to feature in the list of global hockey events in the near future.”
“As an organisation in the forefront of making efforts to encourage the community to living a healthy life, Starcare is delighted to support the Gulf Hockey Fiesta,” he said.
Meanwhile, famous hockey personality S.A.S. Naqvi said: “It has been my dream to have Gulf Cup of hockey. But I would like to thank UTSC for hosting a hockey event with involvement of all GCC countries. Hopefully, one day the Gulf Cup of hockey will come into existence and I wish Oman will host a Gulf Cup of hockey.”
While congratulating the UTSC for their commitment to hockey, he said: “I have no doubt that Starcare Cup Gulf hockey fiesta will be a memorable event for only hockey lovers of Oman but all the GCC countries.”