Marjaby to be Oman’s only athlete at worlds

Ahmed al Marjaby will be the only athlete from Oman to take part in the forthcoming World Athletics Championships in the South Korean city of Daegu from August 27.

The 21 year old will be making his debut in the 400m event after Oman Athletics Association (OAA) decided to rest star sprinter Barakat al Harthy. Barakat, the Guangzhou Asian Games 100m bronze medallist, was expected to spearhead Oman's challenge, but OAA officials decided to drop him to prepare the sprinter for the Arab Games, which take place in December.

Confirming Marjaby's participation and Barakat's absence, Fauzi al Kiyumi, OAA general secretary, said, “It was a decision taken by the board in the larger interest of the athletes. Barakat had displayed signs of fatigue at the Asian Athletics Championships last month in Kobe where he was a medal contender but finished sixth in a time of 10.38. We would like to give Barakat some rest and prepare him for the Arab Games. Marjaby has shown good timings in the 400m and we hope that he would gain experience by competing against the best of the world.”

Marjaby will be competing in a discipline where an Omani still holds the Asian record. Mohammed Amer al Malki's time of 44.56 seconds was set at the Budapest Grand Prix on August 12, 1988. Malki was the first athlete to win a gold medal for the Sultanate at the Asian Games in Beijing 1990. He remains the only Omani athlete to have achieved this feat.

Marjaby has shown improvement in the 400m since working with coach Jama Aden. It was on Aden's insistence that the OAA decided to switch Marjaby from his 200m event to the 400m last year.

Aden also coaches Sudan's 800m world indoor champion Abubaker Kaki and 800m Olympic silver medallist Ismail Ahmed Ismail. In an earlier interview with Muscat Daily, Aden said Marjaby had the potential to better Malki's record. Marjaby clocked his best 400m time of 46.06 seconds at the Asian Athletics Championship in Kobe last month.

However, the athlete failed to better his time in the final after being disqualified for a false start. Marjaby's only other participation at world level was at the 12th world junior championships in 2008 when he took part in the 100m and 200m races.

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