28 Oman athletes for West Asian Athletics


OAA officials along with sprinter Barakat Al Harthy and Shinoona Al Habsi during a press conference. Jun Estrada/ Times of Oman

Muscat: Oman Athletic Association (OAA) will send a 43-member team headed by its vice-chairman Ahmed Al Marhoon to the 2nd West Asian Athletics Championship (WAAC) which will be held in Dubai next week.

The three-day championship organised by the UAE Athletics Federation from December 12-15 will have participants from 17 countries.

Oman's top sprinter Barakat Al Harthy and women athletes Shinoona Al Habsi and the experienced Buthaina Al Yaqoobi will also attend the championship.

"This is by far the largest contingent we are sending for the championship," said Said Al Khasmi, OAA general-secretary during a media briefing held at OAA head-office.

Oman will have 22 male athletes, six female athletes participating in the 17 categories which include 100m, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, 4x400m relay, 1500m, Javelin throw, High Jump and Long Jump.

Apart from the athletes, nine coaches, two referees and OAA officials will also attend the championship. 

Marhoon while expressing his confidence in the squad said Oman will also gain experience from the event.

"Our main aim is to win medals but at the same time we want to improve and gain some experience in different age groups,"he said. "This is not going to be an easy championship as there are 17 countries participating but we have confidence in our team," he added.

Coach Hamood Al Dhalhami said his team is 90 per cent ready for the championship.

"I do not want to say we are 100 per cent ready for it because the date of the championship was changed many times. But we began our preparation in the beginning of this year and I am really confident about our chances," he said.

Oman coach Podynkov Salva said his team is expected to win five medals. "I have hopes in winning at least five medals," he said.

Barakat and Shinoona also promised a good show in Dubai. "We had a good camp and this is our first major international championship after Olympics and we are confident of producing good results," Shinoona said.

"I am fit enough to participate and expect to win some medals," added Barakat.

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