H E Saadi to attend Asian Games opening ceremony

H E Sheikh Saad al Saadi, the Minister of Sports Affairs, left for Jakarta, Indonesia to attend the opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games on Saturday.

H E Saadi is accompanied by a delegation and is expected to hold series of meetings with officials and other dignitaries during his stay.

Khalid al Zubair, the Oman Olympic Committee (OOC) president, will also attend the opening ceremony. He is expected to stay throughout the Games, which would conclude on September 2.

Oman has sent a strong 74-member squad of athletes for the Games, who will compete in eight disciplines – athletics, shooting, tennis, hockey, beach volleyball, weightlifting, sailing and swimming.

Barakat al Harthi, who recently broke the ten-second barrier in the 100m event (9.97s) is one of the main medal hopes for the sultanate.

Oman hockey captain Mahmood al Hassani has been given the honour to be the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony on Saturday.

On the eve of his departure for Indonesia, H E Sheikh Saadi wished all the Omani athletes “good luck and hoped that the athletes will do the sultanate proud by giving their best at the Games.”

The OOC had put through a strict selection criteria for the teams in eight disciplines for the Games and according to Sheikh Saif al Hosni, the OOC vice-chairman.

“We have a sizeable squad for the Games. We hope they come back after giving their best performances. We are expecting couple of medals and I am hopeful of few athletes to make it to the final rounds in some events at the Asian Games, which is the world's largest multi-sport event after the Olympics.”

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