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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Hockey Oman international women’s tourney from Nov 24

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MUSCAT: Oman Hockey Association (OHA) will organise an International Women’s Hockey5s tournament from November 24 to 26 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat.


“This will be a first tournament for the Oman women’s team among many planned events ahead of the Men’s and Women’s Hockey5s World Cup to be held in Oman from January 24 to 31,” said OHA Chairman Dr Marwan bin Juma al Juma while launching the tournament during a press conference at the Oman Olympic Committee headquarters in Al Ghubra on Wednesday.


“We will make every effort to equip the team for a good fight in the Hockey5s World Cup,” Dr Marwan added.


Oman women’s hockey team made their debut in Hockey5s Asia Cup in Salalah recently. The debutants finished last in the top-class 10-team tournament with some big defeats and reasonably better performances in their group matches.


Oman men’s hockey head coach Siegfried Aikman, who is also adviser to the women’s technical team, said it's still early days for the women’s team.


“They have just started but there is no time for them to waste. They got a chance to make their debut in the high-profile Asia Cup and now will have to get ready for the World Cup in no time. It is a big and interesting challenge for the girls,” the Dutch coach said.


Women’s team head coach Mohammed Waqas said the girls have long buried their opening nerves in the big stage.


“It was a little tough for them at the Asia Cup during the opening matches. But later they found their feet and could improve their performance after each match,” the Pakistan coach said.



FIRST IN GCC


The OHA plans to run the women’s tournament annually which is first of its kind in the GCC region.


Divya Narang, who was the special guest at the launch ceremony, congratulated the OHA for taking the initiative for the women’s team.


The spouse of Amit Narang, Ambassador of India to the Sultanate of Oman, wished the Omani women’s team the very best for their continued rise and success.


Sadaa al Ismailiyah from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, said she hoped the tournament would stay put strongly in coming years.


“I hope the tournament gets stronger in the coming years. We should also plan for a GCC-level tournament in the near future too,” Sadaa told Oman Observer.


The first edition of Hockey Oman International Women’s Hockey5s tournament will be officially opened at 6 pm on November 24, though the matches start from 2 pm to 11 pm. The matches will continue on November 25 and on November 26, the matches will be held from 2 pm to 9 pm.


The Asian Hockey Federation has approved the tournament which will feature the participation of five international teams -- three teams from India, one team from Dubai and one team from Egypt. Hosts Oman will field three teams, making it an eight-team event.


Republicans India, Don Bosco Academy Mumbai and Hustle Hockey Club are the teams from India. Fap Oman Team, Al Nahla Team and Magzi Team are the sides from Oman along with Dubai Hockey Club and Egypt Team.


There will be a tournament for schoolgirls as part of the main tournament. This is a 5-a-side format game, with a maximum of eight players in each team with two officials.


Matches will be in a round-robin league format with the eight teams playing each other. Top four will qualify for the semifinals.


The tournament is supported by UTSC Oman, the organisers of the Gulf Fiesta hockey tournament in Oman.


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