MUSCAT: Oman Handball Association (OHA) is continuing its preparations as Oman is set to host the Asian U-19 Championship in Salalah from July 15 to 25.
The draw for the 16th Asian U-19 Handball Championship will be held in Muscat on April 13 at City Season’s Hotel, Dr Said al Shehri, OHA Chairman, told ONA in an interview.
“Fourteen representatives from various countries will attend the draw event and all the teams will be distributed into four groups,” Al Shehri said.
Hosting the Asian championship will also serve to boost the tourism in the Sultanate, the OHA chief opined.
“This will be a great chance for the Sultanate to promote itself among the Asian countries in a tourism perspective,” he said.
Oman beach handball team has qualified to the Beach Handball World Cup in Russia in July and Al Shehri said the players are training hard to achieve better results.
“We are very proud that our national beach handball team has qualified to the Handball World Cup in Russia. The team is undergoing a special training programme to achieve better results in Russia,” he said.
“The team will have some foreign camps in Europe ahead of the World Cup.”
The OHA chairman said the association have plans to spread the beach handball in the Sultanate.
“We will organise an internal beach tournament for all the clubs and then select the talented players from this tournament. There will be a group of national coaches who will evaluate the performance of players in this tournament. We are working currently to search for sponsors to support and spread beach handball among the different clubs in Oman,” Al Shehri said.
“Oman Handball Association is supervising 5 national teams and this is for first time with the handball board. Oman handball national U-16 team will have a series of internal and external camps for preparations ahead participating in Asian championship in Jordan during September,” Al Shehri added.
“Also, Oman national U-19 team will participate in Asian Qualifications for World Cup in Spain in 2019,” he said. On the senior national handball team, the OHA chief said the team is working to improve their technical level.
“We have to improve the technical standards of the senior national team. The team could not get the desired results in the Asian championship in South Korea few months back.”
“I believe the team needs to have more technical preparations in the coming period,” Dr Said said.
He said the OHA is trying its best to promote the sport in the country.
“The Oman Handball Association conducts several internal tournaments including first/second division league, U-16/U-19 league, the Ministry Championship Shield and the Super Cup. All these tournaments had good participation from the crowd and it shows the handball has a good following in the Sultanate. Also, we are continuing our efforts to add handball with more clubs,” Al Shehri said.
On technical and official level also the association is pursuing its efforts.
“The Muscat Handball Institution is a result of a strategic partnership between Oman Handball Association and Asian Handball Federation. Through this body, we will be able to conduct different professional training courses for referees, players and coaches at the Asian level.”
“This will open up vast opportunities for all concerned with the sport in Oman too,” Al Shari concluded. — ONA