Muscat: Oman's sporting stars were honoured for their achievements last year in a glittering annual ceremony organised by Ministry of Sports Affairs at the Al Bustan Palace yesterday. The function was held in the aegis of Sheikh Saad bin Mohammed bin Said Al Mardhouf Al Saadi, minister of sports affairs, along with officials of Oman Olympic Committee and heads of various sports associations in the country.
Oman's motor racing sensation Ahmad Al Harthy who became the first Arab to win the Porsche Carrera Pro-AM1 championship in London last year was felicitated for his individual performance along with Ali Al Habsi, Oman football skipper and Wigan Athletic goalkeeper who was absent due to his busy schedule in the English Premier League. Speaking during his inaugural address, Rashad Al Hinai, undersecretary at the Ministry of Sports Affairs hailed the sporting heroes of last year and urged them to continue their glory in the coming years.
"Most of you have become stars. I would advise you to continue the way you are contributing to this success and make Oman proud," he said.
The U-22 football team lead by coach Philippe Burle was felicitated for booking their berth in the AFC U-22 Asian Cup finals which will be hosted by Oman next month. The others to be honoured were volleyball national team, handball, basketball (men and women squad), swimming, athletics (men and women), tennis, hockey, equestrian, cycling, Oman Sail's sailors and marksmen, body builders, weight lifters and power lifters along with the University sports squads for their achievements in the year 2012.
Among the sponsors who contributed commendable support, Omantel received the gold medal, while Oman Air won the silver medal and Oman India Fertiliser Company SAOC (Omifco). From the media, Times of Oman and Al Shabiba were also honoured during the event.