MUSCAT: The fourth edition of the UTSC Gulf Hockey Fiesta-2019, an all-encompassing and inclusive movement for hockey, is all set to take place in Muscat on February 8 and 9, 2019, at Sultan Qaboos Stadium Complex, Bausher, Muscat.
The official inauguration of the event is scheduled to be held at 6.30pm on February 8, though the matches start from 2pm to 11pm. The final match will be held on February 9 at 8pm. This year’s event is extra-special, as it is the 10th anniversary since its establishment.
The event is being held under the patronage of the Oman Hockey Association and is an approved event of the Asian Hockey Federation. In the spirit of promoting hockey and as a long-time supporter of hockey in the Middle East, the event will see four international teams and eight local teams participating. Besides, there will be exhibition matches between the boys and girls of the Indian School Al Mabela and the Indian School Wadi Kabir at 3pm on February 9.
The tournament includes Omani teams, showcasing the interest and enthusiasm of Omanis in this sport. Hockey is fast gaining recognition and acceptance as a popular sport for young Omanis and Indians. The tournament will generate international interest from these teams.
This is a 6-a-side format game, with a maximum of nine players in each team. Some 12 teams will be participating in the tournament. These teams will be divided into four pools. The winners of each pool will qualify for the quarterfinals. Teams reaching the second and third positions will play a crossover match to book their berth in the quarterfinals.
A draw was conducted on Tuesday evening to decide the pools. The game will last 20 minutes.
Talib Al Wahaibi, Chairman, Oman Hockey Association (OHA) and the brain behind bringing the prestigious tournament to the Sultanate, said, “We are all set for a successful and a high-caliber international tournament. It is a world-class event. And we are proud it is happening in Oman. We are confident that this event will promote tourism in a big way and provide a platform for foreign players to exhibit their skills in hockey to the Omani sports-loving public.”
The fourth edition will also add a special attraction to draw in more audiences including families, under the banner, "The Great 2019 Cook-Off Contest", supported by Foodlands and Shahi Spices.
Oneza Tabish, the famous Food Blogger and Admin of What's Cooking in Oman page, will be the Chief Guest of the contest. A celebrity guest from Kerala, Raj Kalesh, will host the cookery contest. He is popular for his television shows and magic shows. In addition, there will also be a DJ, live music and entertainment, as well as dance and magic shows.
The sponsors for the event are Shahi Foods and Spices, FAP, Al Nahla Solutions, Badr Al Samaa Group of Hospitals, Malabar Gold and Diamonds, Lulu Hypermarkets, Al Rehwan, Al Sarooj Constructions, Lacnor, Foodlands Restaurant, Mohammed Riyaz and Partners, Muscat Pharmacy, Bader Shipping, Akbar Travels, Air India, Juice World, Daleel 1010 and Lynx.
UTSC has nurtured and unleashed many sportsmen covering a large spectrum of sports such as cricket, hockey, football, basketball, etc., with many of its members participating in regional and international competitions. Through this participation, it aims at promoting the social, physical and cultural welfare of its members and players.
With a presence in many countries, the Middle East wing of UTSC, with its motto “Experience and share the joy of living better through sport" has witnessed encouraging participation and the support of local teams and players for hockey. Team Oman has taken part in many international tournaments and won. UTSC aims at spotting talent, nurturing him/her and providing him/her with all the facilities and support, be it training, development, coaching and on-field guidance, financial or otherwise.