Nearly 15,000 athletes from India and Oman will be taking part in a six-month-long sports festival being organised to strengthen bilateral ties.
The 2018 Oman-India Sports Meet, which begins on May 4, will see teams from both nations compete in six sports: football, volleyball, cricket, hockey, badminton and athletics.
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 Baushar.
The meet is being organised by the Indian Embassy, in collaboration with the Indian Social Club’s (ISC) Malayalam Wing and the Sultanate’s Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, to commemorate 70 years of Indian independence, and foster better relations with Oman, a nation with which India has strong ties that go back centuries.
“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.
A host of Omani sports stars are expected to be honoured at the event, including tennis star Fatma Al Nabhani, sailor Ibtisam Al Salmi, rally car champion Ahmad Al Harthy, legendary athlete Mohammed Al Malki, champion footballer Ali Al Habsi, former Olympian Mohammed Al Balushi, and golfer Azzam Al Rumhi. In addition, all of Oman’s 2017 Gulf Cup winners will be feted.
Several Indian sportspersons, such as cricket stars Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, badminton aces Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, Olympic shooter Abhinav Bindra, boxing legend Mary Kom and PV Chitra, one of India’s fastest athletes, are expected to arrive for the event.