Muscat: The living legend Sergey Nazarovich Bubka signalled a possible start of cooperation in sports between Ukraine and Sultanate of Oman. There is a strong possibility of Oman and Ukraine signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the near future to begin an exchange of sports development programmes, especially in athletics, if the views of the National Olympic Committee heads are to be believed.
The president of the Ukraine Olympic Committee Sergey Bubka, who is known for his pole vaulting exploits during his hey days, was in Oman on a flash visit yesterday and he said was happy to be here obliging an invitation from Oman Olympic Committee head Habib bin Abdulnabi Macki.
"I was in Dubai to attend the annual Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award ceremony, when my close friend (Habib Macki) requested me to pay a visit and meet the heads of the sports associations," said Bubka, who was inducted into the International Association of Athletics Federation Hall of Fame last year.
Having earned fame during his prime days, Bubka is now focussing on spreading the Olympic movement and also promoting the healthy values through sports. In fact, it was for these efforts, the Ukraine Olympic Committee was honoured in Dubai. "I am honoured to receive this prestigious award for 'Team Achievement on Values' on behalf of my NOC and I am even more glad to have visited Oman to further boost the strength on these lines," said the legendary athletes.
"An understanding between Ukraine and Oman will help both the countries as I would like to say we have rich sporting history.
"To highlight, during the days of domination by the erstwhile Soviet Union, athletes from Ukraine formed the bulk and even now we can boast of having a big pool of talents," Bubka detailed.
"We have had healthy discussions here and I hope a mutual understanding will happen in the near future," he pointed out. "My aim is to build a strong relationship."
On a query, Bubka pointed out that Ukraine has so far not signed any MoUs with any other Gulf nations and if it happens, "Oman will be the first"
Habib Macki, who was excited to have Bubka as his guest, said: "This visit by the legend holds high importance and we will soon work out on the formalities of exchange programmes."
Elaborating, Macki said: "Oman can make use of the track and field facilities in Ukraine, while they can work on exploring the possibilities of benefiting from the sailing infrastructure we have and also from field hockey."
Moreover, Macki pointed out that the excellent weather conditions during winter in Oman can be used to maximum by the Ukraine athletes. Meanwhile, OAA chairman Sheikh Saif Al Hosni and OOC general secretary Hilal Al Sinani hinted at working out a deal with the Ukraine OC president. They also thanked Bubka for accepting the invitation to visit Oman.
Bubka also hailed the emergence of Arab athletes in recent time and highlighted the fact that it would be better if more exposure is given. "This is where an exchange programme helps and I am sure Oman can climb the ladder faster if we come closer," he said.
With his son Sergei Bubka (junior) opting for tennis, the legend, who was first to break the 6 metre barrier in pole vault, vaulted a question...Who will be the next Bubka?
"That's a difficult question to answer, but I hope with immense talent around the globe there would be someone who emerges," he said.
On his son, Bubka said he was recovering from the injury and is getting ready to be back on the tennis circuit. The junior Bubka had broken bones sustained in a three-storey fall from a flat in Paris some months ago.
The closest threat to his indoor record has come from Australian Steven Hooker at 6.06m. The closest active threat to his outdoor record has come from American record-holder Brad Walker at 6.04m.
Bubka, who is also a parliamentarian, has won six consecutive IAAF World Championships, an Olympics gold and broke the world record for men's pole vaulting 35 times (17 outdoor and 18 indoor records). He was the first to clear 6.0 metres and the only (as of July 2012) to clear 6.10 metres (20 ft).
He holds the current outdoor world record of 6.14 metres, (20 feet 13?4 inches), set on July 31, 1994 in Sestriere, Italy and the current indoor world record of 6.15 metres, set on February 21, 1993 in Donetsk, Ukraine.