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100 days to go for 2022 World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships in Oman

Muscat: There are just 100 days to go until the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships (Muscat 22) and to ensure preparations are in place.

The Local Organising Committee (Oman Athletics Association, Oman Sail and Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre) recently hosted a delegation from World Athletics to finalise all technical and logistical elements.

To mark the milestone in the countdown, the Organising Committee has unveiled the exclusive brand identity for the event, which features iconic Muscat landmarks the Al Alam Palace, the Riyam Park monument and Al Sahwa Clock Tower above a traditional Omani tile pattern motif.

All set within the frame of the World Athletics symbol used for all World Athletics Series events. Shaikh Salim al Amri, President of Oman Athletics Association, said, "Plans for the event are progressing rapidly. We have held work sessions together to narrow down the details and deliver a highly-professional, well-coordinated event for athletes, coaches and international media. This is a unique opportunity for Oman to enhance athletics within the country and establish ourselves as a viable host nation for future events and we are determined to make sure the 2022 Race Walking Team Championships live long in the memory.” Racing will centre around the pristine landscaped gardens of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in the heart of Muscat from March 1-6, 2022.

The venue offers a variety of elevations to challenge the racers and a viewing platform will be set up within the Spectators Village to offer a perfect vantage point for the live audience.

Eng Said al Shanfari, CEO of Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC), said, "This is a great achievement for Oman and we are incredibly proud to host the 2022 Race Walking Team Championships. OCEC has designed a challenging and inspiring course which will test the competitors while showcasing the beauty of our location to the live audience. To take such a leading role in Oman’s sporting evolution is a responsibility we are delighted to have, and hopefully this will be the first of many World Athletics events to visit our nation.”

The week of racing in Muscat will be a celebration of athletics with a 1KM and 2KM Kids’ Run and Park Run Festival event either side of the main competition with a health and fitness exhibition on site to inspire local athletes and visitors to become more active. Participating squads for the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships (Muscat 22) will be chosen by national athletics federations.

The Championships will feature a male and female 20KM race, U20 male and female 10KM races and Masters categories, scheduled for Friday, March 4, 2022. The following day there will also be a 35KM combined race.

Dr Khamis al Jabri, CEO of Oman Sail, said, "We have had success hosting a wide variety of high-profile sporting events over recent years and this is the next step forward for our development as an attractive venue for major events. Oman has built a strong reputation on its authenticity and hospitality, and the benefits of hosting the 2022 World Race Walking Team Championships will reach far and wide.

Local SMEs will benefit, athletes of all ages can be inspired to realise their ambitions on home soil, and this is the ideal platform to showcase our capabilities to a new global sporting audience.”

The World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships (Muscat 22) are expected to attract over 1,000 inbound visitors, including athletes, coaches, delegates, friends and family, which will provide a significant socio-economic boost for local businesses and suppliers. Alongside the influx of visitors arriving on chartered flights through Muscat International Airport, training camps will be established at various resorts in Nizwa to allow the competitors to acclimatise before embarking on the race, adding to occupancy rates of each destination.

This will be the first time the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships have been held in the Middle East and the first time outside of China that an Asian nation has hosted the event.

The championships were originally due to be held in Minsk, Belarus, but the ongoing travel restrictions caused by COVID-19 forced the event to be rescheduled. Oman now has the opportunity to make history and usher in a new era for athletics in the Sultanate of Oman. --ONA

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