Hockey enthusiasts will be in for a treat as the Sultanate will host the beach version of the sport for the first time. A two-day beach hockey tournament will be held in Salalah on August 16 and 17 as part of the ongoing Salalah Tourism Festival.
As many as 12 teams will take part in the tournament including some local clubs and private companies at the Sultan Qaboos Youth Complex for Culture and Entertainment. The list of teams include Dhofar club, Seeb, Mirbat, Nizwa, Al Bashayer, Al Ettihad, Al Nasr (A), Al Nasr (B), Golden Opal Company, Faraj al Arabiya Company, Shrooq al Mustaqbal Company and Dhofar governorate team. A total of 23 matches will be played during the two days of tournament.
Mohammed al Battrani, chairman of organising committee, stated in his exclusive remarks to the Observer that this tournament is an initial step to spread the game of beach hockey in the Sultanate.
Al Battrani said he had raised the idea in 2015 at the annual general meeting of Oman Hockey Association.
“Recently, I discussed the possibility of holding the beach hockey tournament with the Salalah tourism festival committee and they agreed to organise the event.”
Al Battrani, an experienced Oman coach, said all the rules and regulations of the tournament will be based on the international standards. “ This is an additional benefit for the Sultanate coaches and players to learn more about the rules of the sport in good details. Also, we tried to make the law very easy to the locals by translating the laws to Arabic,” he said.
Al Battrani pointed out that the social media is a major tool to promote the event.
“We had many ambassadors from different sports to send different messages to the people regarding the tournament including Imad al Hosni, Eid al Farsi, Badar al Maimani as football players and Oman’s sprinter Barkat al Harthi. At international level, we have Australian player Torna, Tinco from Malaysia team and some other players from India and Bahrain who encouraged the teams and people to participate and attend the tournament.”
The opening ceremony of the tournament will be presided over by Shaikh Thabit Abdullah al Shanfari, Vice-Chairman of Al Nasr club.
The organising committee of the tournament has also arranged sight-seeing for the teams to some of the most attractive tourist places in Salalah.