‘WE HAVE A STRONG BID’
OHA chairman Talib al Wahaibi hopeful of winning the 2023 FIH Hockey5s World Cup bid on May 21
A national initiative. A dream and confident bid. A chance to showcase Oman's rich hockey history to the world. These were the few of the comments made by Oman Hockey Association (OHA) chairman Talib al Wahabi on Tuesday as he unveiled details of the sultanate's ambitious bid for the hosting of the FIH Hockey5s World Cup in 2023.
Speaking to media persons at a packed press conference on Tuesday, Wahaibi said, “This is a national bid of Oman. We have worked hard to prepare a very strong file in close coordination with Omran and Oman Sail. The effort is to put Oman hockey on the world sporting map.
“The idea to host the World Cup came in my mind a few years ago. We then hosted the Asian Champions Trophy and got two of the biggest hockey giants – India and Pakistan – play here in 2018.
“The success gave me the belief and during the FIH Congress last year, the proposal to host the inaugural edition of the Hockey5s World Cup was made. I then started the work and sought the approval of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
“Following the nod from the ministry, we got in touch with Omran, who directed us to Oman Sail, which has in the past bid to host world championships. Their [Oman Sail] success in hosting and preparing successful bids in the past has made our bid strong. The safety factor of Oman and the tourism potential will add to the profile of our bid.”
Besides Oman, there are two more Asian nations and countries from Europe and Africa in fray to host the first edition.
The decision to award the rights will be taken at the forthcoming FIH meeting in New Delhi, India, on May 21.
As reported by Muscat Daily recently, the bid will also pave the way for the construction of a new stadium next to the existing venue at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
Assim al Saqri, head of communications at Oman Sail, said that the 'past successful bids of Oman Sail has set a template' and is hopeful that 'Oman will win the rights to host the Hockey5s World Cup'.
On this occasion, Wahaibi announced that the chairman of Oman's bid will be H E Rashad al Hinai, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, and revealed the names of Oman’s bid ambassadors.
They are former OHA chairman and national team player Dawood al Raisi, former Oman international Abdul Hussain al Lawati and former Oman star Tarmah Hussain al Ajmi.
All the three were presented jerseys by the OHA chief. “The trio have served Oman hockey with pride and deserve to be our bid ambassadors,” said Wahaibi.
The OHA chief said that plans are in place to have hockey5s league in the sultanate and the aim is 'to target the youngsters and popularise it at the grassroots level'. “We have had a few annual hockey5s event in the past but we are now geared up to have a league.”
“Hopefully, if we win the bid, then we can launch major plans to strengthen this format further. The staging of the Hockey5s World Cup will be a jewel in the crown of the region as this is the inaugural edition. To have it in the region with 32 teams, 16 men and 16 women, will not only be a moment of pride but also spur economic and tourism activity.”