Indian hockey team thanks Oman for warm hospitality

Energy Tuesday 23/October/2018 22:18 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: Players from India’s national hockey team have thanked the expat Indian community and their Omani hosts for their support during the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy.
India was one of six teams to play at the tournament, which is currently being held in Muscat, and at a special reception organised for them by the Indian Embassy in Oman, coach Harendra Singh and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh thanked the Indian community here, who had organised a welcoming party for the team when they first arrived, and have also overseen many logistical responsibilities during the tournament.
“On behalf of the Indian hockey team and my entire country, we all wish the Indian community over here all the best, and we are really delighted by the number of Indians who have given us support, not just physically, but also in terms of their emotional attachment,” said coach Harendra.
“We can see and we can feel the warmth of Oman, and the people of Oman who really like to see hockey.
Who is winning, who is losing, that is not important. The quality of hockey that the Asian countries are displaying in this tournament, which is far, far better tactically and technically, is what people from Oman, as well as those from India, Pakistan and every other country are enjoying.
Goalie PR Sreejesh, who hails from the Indian state of Kerala, was particularly popular with the assembled members of the community.
He recently made his 200th appearance when he played for India in their 3-1 win over arch-rivals Pakistan. “It is really nice to see people from Kerala here supporting hockey,” he told Times of Oman.
“Even during this tournament, they are organising everything, so I think their love, their passion for hockey is motivating others and the younger generation to take up hockey and continue with their good work.”
India and Pakistan aside, the tournament also includes Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and hosts Oman.
Munu Mahawar, the Ambassador of India to Oman, said it was no surprise that the Indian team was doing so well at the Asian Champions Trophy. “The Indian hockey team has made a strong start in the tournament,” he said.“They won the first three matches convincingly, but this is no surprise, because we all know that the Indian team is a strong team.
We wish the Indian team success in the remaining matches of the tournament, may you return victorious, and then go on to win the upcoming World Cup. “I have myself attended two matches and could see the enthusiasm and excitement among the fans.
I would like to convey our gratitude to the government of the Sultanate of Oman, which has, under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, extended a very warm hospitality to the team,” he added.
“Sports is more than just winning games and medals.
It is an instrument to build bridges of friendship. With their performance, the Indian national hockey team is winning the hearts of not just Indian hockey fans, but people of all nationalities who watch their games, and we are really appreciative of this.”
This was a sentiment also shared by Talib Khamis Al Wahaibi, chairman of the Oman Hockey Association.
“It’s not just the Indian national team, but I am here organising for all the teams,” he said. “It is a very, very good thing to have heroes and legends and top Asian players among us over here, it is a great thing for Oman’s hockey association, and it is also a chance for all the audiences to come and watch their heroes.
That is the main thing here.” With the Indian team to soon enjoy two days off before the knockout stages of the tournament, for which they have already qualified, captain Manpreet Singh is looking forward to exploring Muscat during his time off.
“We haven’t gotten enough time to go into Oman, because we were busy with our matches, but we have two days’ rest, so we will go out then,” he said.
“Until now, it’s been really good, because we are doing really well. We won all three matches, and we need to concentrate on the rest of the matches because we are focusing on the World Cup, as well. We are hosting it, and we know that the World Cup is not going to be easy because the best teams are coming, so we need to give our best out there.”