Here's when Oman's premier kickboxing tournament will take place this year
December 6, 2017 | 6:12 PM
by Shruthi Nair

Oman Fighting Championship (OFC), the pre-eminent martial arts league in the Sultanate, has unveiled its third annual fight night, OFC3 Battlegrounds. Set to take place on December 16, 2017 at the Barr Al Jissah Amphitheatre, this highly anticipated event is expected to draw crowds of up to 1,200 people, making it the largest OFC event so far.

Last year, I had decided to pay a casual visit to The Champ, just to check out the different activities they have to offer to get my hopeless fitness regime back on track. There was, however, this one corner of the whole floor that I was drawn towards for it exuberated more sound and energy than the rest of the space.

Kickboxing is a form of combat sport that originated way back in the 1960s and is considered to be an evolved version of Muay Thai. Muay Thai has a fascinating history as the roots can be dated back to the 14th century where it was practised by Siamese soldiers in its rawest form. Later in the 19th century it was adopted as a form of recreation or for self-defence. It was years later that Osamu Naguchi, a Japanese expert, came across Muay Thai and decided to merge it with full contact techniques of Karate and boxing to what has become Kickboxing.

The sport got popularised in the US and then to the other parts of the world and gradually started gaining ground as a professional sport participated in and watched across the world. The Oman Kickboxing Club started in 2010 by Baqar Haider, who started training as a kickboxer in 1993 in Edinburgh. Having trained for almost two decades before that had changed Baqar’s life in many ways and he wanted to introduce it in Oman.

OKC is currently the largest club in the Sultanate and since it opened there has been an overwhelming number of Omanis and expats who had the desire to learn the sport.

Kickboxing is unique in varied ways. It involves punches, kicks, blocks, and evasive manoeuvres along with knee strikes. The Oman Kickboxing Club is a great place to get yourself enrolled in as it can comfortably accommodate people who are supremely inexperienced and unfit and even those who have ample experience and are skilled fighters.

The first hour of the two-hour long class is the intense workout that could throw you off, especially if you are a beginner, but if you survive then you are totally ready for what’s in store for you next, which is technique and skill training. The experienced coaches, who’ve trained for a few years and have even participated in a few matches internationally, make sure that they give personal attention to all the attendees. In the past few years, OKC has managed to produce a number of skilled fighters who have not just participated in but have also won many championships.

On seeing the potential the country had in terms of talented fighters, Baqar and his partners Reza Mostofi and Fayyad Samarah, under The Agency Design and Promo Works decided that it was time to start an officially affiliated championship here in Oman in order to provide a platform for the budding fighters from the various clubs that opened up in different parts of the country ever since.

There was a good supply of fighters, there was a demand for a platform to showcase talent, and that purely was what resulted in the formation of Oman Fighting Championship. “Further to the promotion of the sport itself, our aim is to also promote a healthier lifestyle for the residents of Oman, with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity which are all on the rise. This is our little way of combating that, not everyone who joins OKC wants to or has to get involved in the combat side of the sport. For now we have been focusing on developing the two fighters that we have for the upcoming championship on 16th December, training hard and hopefully being crowned as the Champions of Oman.”

Name: Nidhal Aouali

Age: 29

Nationality: Tunisian

Nidhal is currently a coach at OKC, who perhaps is the owner of the best body in the whole of Oman. He has lived in the country for the last 10 years and started kickboxing seven years back. He has participated in numerous fights across the Middle East and has remained undefeated. Nidhal calls opting for kickboxing a great decision that has changed and shaped his life in better ways. “I was a football player before that. I tried gym, different kinds of things and then we tried kickboxing. The self-discipline and self-confidence, healthy lifestyle and routine that kickboxing teaches you takes your life in the correct direction. You have to do a certain workout everyday and eat properly. What we learn here is not something we can use outside in the streets. But you know your capacity and that confidence changes the way you look at things,” he said.

He added, “Fighting is a one-on-one sport. The harder you work the closer you get to your goal. For me, fighting is not just physical. It is probably just 40% of the whole thing. It is the mental state, how you analyse and process things, and how you adopt into a situation where someone is trying to hurt you and you have to protect yourself and hurt him back. It’s like a physical form of playing chess.”

Speaking of his preparation for OFC he said, “I personally need to work on power and speed. Because in kickboxing you may just get the chance to land one punch in the whole fight and it has to be powerful. We do focus on physical preparation. I cannot control the outcome of the fight but I can control what I do.”

Name: Vinod Kumar

Age: 29

Nationality: Indian

This simple man hailing from Punjab came to Oman on finding a job as a mason like most blue collar workers in the country. But unlike the majority of them, what distinguished Vinod was his ambition. He has been fighting for the last eight years even before he came to the country. However, it was only after joining OKC that he started taking it up professionally. He is the holder of the light weight champions title but is working longer and harder for this year’s championship. “I’m training harder and better than the previous year. I’m focusing on my footwork, power, and speed. The event itself is bigger this year. Everybody feels the pain,” he said.

He said, “Kickboxing has changed my life completely. Earlier I used to treat it like a sport, now I’ve made it my lifestyle. Kickboxing is also helping me in my job. Earlier I used to feel that this would be a hindrance to my work, but my office is supporting me.”

Vinod has his eyes set on the prize and is prepared to work as hard as he can to achieve his ultimate goals. “My goal is to keep the belt with me but my ultimate goal is to hold an international title. —[email protected]


Barr Al Jissah Amphitheatre

For tickets + 968 9100 7700, 9617 5866

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