Muscat: Oman, thanks to the efforts of the Oman Hockey Association’s chief Talib Al Wahaibi and his team of dedicated officials, has won the right to host the 2018 Asian Games hockey qualifiers and the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Congress.
The OHA chief Talib Al Wahaibi revealed the details of the two major international hockey events as well as the future plans for the development of domestic game during the launch of the second edition of UTSC Starcare Cup Gulf Hockey Fiesta at Haffa House Hotel on Sunday.
“I have the privilege to announce that the Sultanate will soon be welcoming the top dignitaries of the Asian hockey when we host the AHF Congress on March 30,” said OHA chief Talib Al Wahaibi.
While stating that the AHF has taken the decision to award the hosting rights to Oman during a recent meeting held in Malaysia, Talib Al Wahaibi said: “It is going to be a big occasion for the entire Oman hockey fraternity. The who is who of Asian hockey, including AHF President His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Ahmad Shah, will be here in Oman.”
“We will be hosting the dignitaries from around 31 countries who will start arriving a day before the congress on March 30,” he added.
Asian Games qualifiers
The OHA chief also revealed that Oman will be hosting the qualifiers of the Asian Games hockey competition.
“Four other Asian countries have also shown interest in hosting the Asian Games qualifiers. But we are glad that the AHF and the members have accepted our bid and awarded the hosting rights to us,” Talib Al Wahaibi said.
“The Asian Games hockey qualifiers will now take place in January and February in 2018.”
“It is our aim to revive and develop Oman hockey and also to take the Sultanate hockey to the continental and word level,” he said.
“The host of the qualifiers is one step in that direction.. of going continental and international,” he said.
The OHA chief expressed the hope that hosting of qualifiers will benefit the Oman hockey.
“As hosts we will benefit. Our national team will surely benefit as they will be playing in front of their fans and it will boost the team’s chances,” he said while urging the hockey lovers of the expat community to back the Oman national team.
The next edition of the Asian Games will take place in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2.
The Oman hockey chief also spoke about the inaugural Super Cup hockey match to be played in March.
“The Super Cup, which will be played between His Majesty’s Cup winners and the League champions, is one of our attempts to further boost Oman hockey and create more activities,” he said.
“We want more action and more matches for our players to hone their skills and to get experience,” he said.
Talib Al Wahaibi added: “The first edition of our Super Cup will coincide with AHF Congress and will take place on March 30. We are hoping to have FIH President Dr Narinder Batra to hand over the trophy.”
Asked about FIH chief Narinder Batra’s proposed visit to Oman on March 2, said: “Dr Batra’s March 2 visit is more of a private visit, during which he will also meet our Minister of Sports Affairs Sheikh Saad bin Mohammed Al Mardhouf Al Saadi and Oman Olympic Committee chief Sheikh Khalid Al Zubair.
“But the FIH chief will also be coming here during the AHF Congress. On the same day he will attend the Super Cup match and hand over the trophy,” Talib Al Wahaibi added.