MUSCAT, APRil 21 – Football fans from both Oman and India are in for a treat when two teams from both nations clash as part of the Oman-India Sports Meet 2018, organised jointly by the Embassy of India and the Indian Social Club, with the partnership of Oman’s Ministry of Sports Affairs, from May 4, 2018 for the next five months.
There will be a nerve-wracking match between India’s I-League team Gokulam FC and a yet-to-be-named top Omani club, which will be a major draw at the event that will be opened by Shaikh Khalid bin Omar al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Services, at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bausher.
“The exciting sports event titled Oman-India Sports Meet 2018 being organised as part of the India at 70 project is an opportunity for the Omani and Indian nationals to play friendly matches, which will promote camaraderie and foster goodwill among the people of both countries,” Indramani Pandey, the Ambassador of India to the Sultanate of Oman, said.
Six popular games, including football, cricket, hockey, volleyball, badminton and athletics are selected to play in Oman. Tournaments will be pooled into two groups “A” (Omani nationals) and “B” (Indian nationals) for each game and the emerging winning teams from Group A and B will play at the finals.
The inaugural event in May 2018 which will mark a colourful medley of cultural events featuring both Omani and Indian children, will be followed by a spectacular drill by the children. Traditional art forms of Oman and India will be presented on the stage. Tournaments will continue at designated sports grounds until October 2018 with a grand finale and trophies and awards will be presented to the winning teams and individuals.
“As many as six exciting sporting events are planned in the realm of football, cricket, hockey, badminton, volley ball and athletics,” Dr Satish Nambiar, Chairman, ISC said, adding, “Various games will be held at the Ministry of Sports grounds at Bausher, Amerat, Seeb and Athaiba and the revenue out of this event will be donated to support a charity initiative in the Sultanate.”
Football for adults will be held on August 17, 18, 31, and September 1, 7, 8, 21 and 22 while the same for school children will be held on September 28, 29, and October 5, 6. The finals for both categories are planned on October 12.
Adults volleyball is scheduled to be held on May 10, 11, and 12 whereas for school children it will be on October 10 and 11.
Cricket T-20 match for adults, one of the most awaited matches, will be held on August 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 (knockout matches) with finals on August 18 at Al Amerat Turf pitch.
Schedules for other sports events are hockey on October 19, and 20 at the Bausher practice stadium; Badminton on August 14 to September 10, 14 to 21 August: ISC MPH venue in Darsait; 22 August to 10 September: Ministry’s indoor stadium.
Athletics will be held on October 3 and 4 and 10 and 11.
GALAXY OF SPORTSPERSONS TO BE HONOURED
A number of outstanding Omani and Indian sportsmen will be honoured as part of the event. They include Fatma al Nabhani (tennis), Ibtisam al Salmi (champion sailor), Ahmed al Harthy (car racer), Mohammed al Malki (Oman’s legendary athlete), Ali al Habsi (ace footballer), Mohammed al Balushi (former Olympics’ star), Ali al Busaidi (footballer), and Azaan al Rumhy, (golfer), along with all members of the Oman national football team will be honoured at the event.
Indian sports stars from a diverse spectrum of sports and games including Rahul Dravid (cricket), Sourav Ganguly (cricket), Saina Nehwal (Commonwealth 2018 Badminton winner), PV Sindhu (World No 3 Badminton star), Abhinav Bindra (shooter), Mary Kom (boxing legend), and PV Chitra (fastest athlete), will also be honoured.
His Highness Sayyid Qais bin Khalid al Said, Sheikh Kanak Khimji, MA Yousuf Ali, BR Shetty, Ahmed al Adawi, Ministry of Sports Affairs; Khalifah al Eisai, Director-General, Ministry of Sports Affairs; Hassna al Hajri, Ministry of Sports Affairs; Murad al Balushi, Ministry of Sports; Pankaj Khimji, Dr P Mohamed Ali, BS Mehta, and Kiran Asher are the other dignitaries associated with the mega Oman-India Sports Meet 2018 event.
Hisham al Sinani, Assistant Director-General of Sports Development and Welfare, Ministry of Sports Affairs; T Bhaskaran, Convener, ISC Malayalam Wing; and Raghu Prasad Karnavar, Sports Secretary, ISC Malayalam Wing, were also present at the press briefing.