Muscat: In the absence of star athlete Barakat Al Harthi, the young Omani sprinters will be looking to make their mark in the Asian Athletic Championships in India.
The Oman Athletic Association (OAA) has sent a 10-member team to the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar where the 22nd edition of the Asian championships takes place from July 6 to 9.
According to OAA General Secretary Jihad Al Sheikh, Barakat Al Harthi has not been included in the squad for India hoping to give the Omani star enough to time to prepare well for the forthcoming Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games to be held Turkmenistan.
Speaking to Times Sport from India where he is accompanying the Omani contingent, Jihad Al Sheikh said: “We have not included Barakat Al Harthi because we wanted him to fully regain his form and prepare well for the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games where he has a chance to win a medal for the country.”
The 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which also includes indoor athletic competitions, will be organised in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from September 17 to 27.
The OAA official, however, felt that it is good opportunity for the young sprinters to learn from the experience of participating in the Asian championship.
“It is our endeavour to provide good exposure to these young sprinters. We hope they will show their mettle and learn from their participation in the Asian championship,” Jihad Al Sheikh.
“We are confident all of them will be fighting for top places and produce good performances,” he added.
All the 10 members of the Omani team are sprint specialists.
Two of them Samir Al Riyami and Usama Al Gheilani will be competing in the 100m while two others Mohammed Al Saadi and Rashid Al Aasmi will be in action in the 200m.
There will also be two sprinters - Ahmed Al Saadi and Othman Al Busaidi in the 400m competitions.
Ammar Al Saifi, Yousuf Al Harthi, Salah Al Ajmi and Yousuf Al Omrani will be in action in the 4x100m and 4x400m replay events.
Meanwhile, Jihad Al Sheikh also informed that the OAA has not selected any women athletes for the India trip as the ‘level of competition is very high’ in the Asian event.
“We don’t want to put our (women) athletes under pressure. The level of competition in the Asian championship is very high,” he said.
“They are doing well in the GCC and other regional level events. They will improve with the time and hopefully they will soon be competing in the Asian championships as well.”