Suleiman makes history in Jakarta

MUSCAT, Sept 1 – The 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang was a momentous one for Suleiman bin Khalifa al Hinai and he’s enjoying every bit of it. Suleiman became the first Omani karate referee to officiate at the Asian Games when he stood in the match between Chinese Taipei and Korea. “It was such a wonderful experience for me to just be there and learn so much from the other officials and earn the trust of your fellow referees,’’ Suleiman added. Suleiman was a karate player for about 11 years from 1996-2007 before he became a referee and is constantly understanding and learning more about the sport.

Suleiman along with three other Omani referees received their World Karate Federation (WKF) referee licenses in 2015. Suleiman also has the licence from the Asian Karate Federation (AKF) to go with the WKF licence. Asked about his takeaways from the experience of officiating in Jakarta, Suleiman said it was the confidence that he gained. “I feel very confident after this experience and I feel I can do well and officiate anywhere because of this experience,’’ Suleiman added. For Suleiman and his fellow Omani referees Yusuf al Siyabi, Hilal al Abdali and Ahmed al Zakwani, the next big assignment will come in November.

The foursome will be travelling to the Spanish capital of Madrid to officiate in the World karate championships. With his career going places, Suleiman thanked his family for their support. “They are very proud and supportive and that makes me very happy. It’s great to have that support system,’’ he added.

Haridev Pushparaj