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Oman beach handball team to train in Slovenia


Sheikh Sultan Al Hosni, chairman of Oman Handball Association. Photo - Supplied

Muscat: The Oman beach handball team will travel to Slovenia on Wednesday for a two-week training camp ahead of the World Beach Handball Championship (WBHC) scheduled to take place in Brazil in July.

Speaking to Times Sport, Sheikh Sultan Al Hosni, chairman of Oman Handball Association (OHA), said that the national team headed by coach Hamood Al Hasani will travel to prepare for the prestigious tournament.

"They will travel today for a two-week camp in Slovenia and will go through rigorous training. We have very limited time now and we do not want to waste any moment. The world championship is a very important tournament for us. We had performed really well in the qualifiers to reach here, so we do not want to take this lightly," Al Hosni said.

The world championship will be held in Brazil soon after the football World Cup from July 22 to 27.

The Sultanate has qualified for the fourth time to compete in the event, following their outstanding performance in the Asian Beach Handball Championships in Hong Kong last year. Oman had finished runners-up in the tournament, losing to their regional rivals Qatar in a showdown match for the title.

Having hosted the event (WBHC) last summer and finishing eighth in the 12-nation tournament, Al Hosni said his team now wants to perform well at the global event.

"We do not want to look at our past record and say we are not going to do well in this one. As I said, we had a very good qualifying tournament where we were runners-up. Our boys are all ready to play this biggest tournament. I have full confidence in them and there shouldn't be any reason as to why we cannot perform. Our aim, of course, is to improve the standard of our game and top the table," Al Hosni noted.

Soon after the team returns from Slovenia, they will have an internal camp in Muscat. They will then travel to Egypt for four days to play friendly games.

"We have prepared the plan very well for the team. It will help our players well," Al Hosni said.

The OHA, according to Al Hosni, has requested the Brazil association to allow the Omani team to arrive in the country a few weeks before the world championship.

"We have written to them requesting them to have our team early there. It will certainly help the players to adjust to the situation and we have also asked them to arrange some friendlies with the local teams there. They are yet to reply and we are looking forward to that," Al Hosni said.

The OHA may also send the team to Denmark just before championship for another training camp.

"In case if we cannot reach Brazil early, the team will have some time in Denmark. We are quite excited about the championship. We have full faith in our team and coach Hamood. He has done wonders for us in the past and we hope they will all make us proud," Al Hosni added.

The Sultanate had finished ninth in the 2010 competition in Turkey. Oman also participated in the inaugural World Cup tournament in Egypt in 2004.

To get in touch with the reporter: nishad@timesofoman.com

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