Zubair an emerg­ing sports leader in the re­gion, says top AHF boss

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS - Ashok Puro­hit

The Olympic Move­ment in Oman is on the right path of de­vel­op­ment and un­der the lead­er­ship of Khalid al Zubair, the Oman Olympic Com­mit­tee (OOC) pres­i­dent, sports in the sul­tanate is ca­pa­ble of reach­ing greater heights, ac­cord­ing to Tayyab Ikram, the CEO of the Asian Hockey Fed­er­a­tion (AHF).

In his ex­clu­sive re­marks to Mus­cat Daily on Tues­day, Ikram, who is also a mem­ber of the IOC Sport and Ac­tive So­ci­ety Com­mis­sion, said, “Olympic sports in Oman have been re­vi­talised un­der Zubair, who has been spear­head­ing the ef­forts to put Oman on the map of Olympic world. His elec­tion as an IOC mem­ber last Septem­ber was a de­serv­ing hon­our and ac­knowl­edg­ment of his on­go­ing con­tri­bu­tion to not just Oman but also in the re­gion.”

Zubair was elected dur­ing the IOC Ses­sion in the Peru­vian cap­i­tal of Lima. He was among the eight new mem­bers elected dur­ing the ses­sion that also elected a new vice-pres­i­dent and three new mem­bers of its ex­ec­u­tive board.

Zubair is in his sec­ond term as the OOC chief af­ter his pre­vi­ous term ended last year (2013-16).

“Zubair is emerg­ing as an able sports leader in the re­gion and his vi­sion to im­prove the Olympic sports is com­mend­able. I have per­son­ally wit­nessed the growth of Oman sports, in par­tic­u­lar, hockey, in re­cent years. Thanks to the OOC chief and Talib al Wa­haibi, the Oman Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion (OHA) pres­i­dent, we now have Oman host­ing three ma­jor hockey events this year.”

Ikram said, “Zubair has made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the IOC’s ob­jec­tives by adopt­ing multi-faceted projects and pro­grammes within OOC. It has re­sulted in Omani teams and in­di­vid­u­als win­ning medals at Asian level.

“I have also been made aware that var­i­ous Olympic as­so­ci­a­tions have had deals with cor­po­rate houses to sup­port the na­tional teams. Also, Oman now has a Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport Com­mit­tee, which means that contentious is­sues can be re­solved in Oman it­self.”

The top Asian hockey of­fi­cial said that Zubair and his team com­pris­ing the en­er­getic Taha al Kishry, the OOC sec­re­tary-gen­eral, have de­liv­ered and con­trib­uted a lot to Oman dur­ing the past few years.

“We have seen the re­sults. Be it the host­ing of im­por­tant IOC or AHF meet­ings or or­gan­is­ing top-class tour­na­ments, Oman has done it smoothly. At the AHF, we now look for­ward to the suc­cess of the forth­com­ing 2018 Asian Games Qual­i­fiers, fea­tur­ing ten coun­tries, in March and then the pres­ti­gious Asian Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in Oc­to­ber, which will fea­ture six na­tions.

“These events could be made pos­si­ble only be­cause of the strong com­mitt­ment of the OHA and the OOC,” said Ikram.

Ikram is a mem­ber of a IOC com­mis­sion that ad­vises the IOC ses­sion, the IOC ex­ec­u­tive board and the IOC pres­i­dent on all the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Olympic Move­ment that are re­lated to us­ing sport to im­prove phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in the pop­u­la­tion, giv­ing ac­cess to sport as a right for all, and on en­gag­ing in sports ac­tiv­i­ties with a spe­cial fo­cus on youth.

“The Olympic Agenda 2020 re­flects the fact that sport is more im­por­tant in so­ci­ety than ever, and in­creas­ing ac­tiv­ity and en­gage­ment in sport in so­ci­ety should be a key goal of gov­ern­ments and non-gov­ern­men­tal agen­cies through­out the world. The re­cent event of a beach clean-up, or­gan­ised by the OOC, is an ex­am­ple on how the Olympic Move­ment can work in close co­or­di­na­tion with the so­ci­ety and I ap­plaud the OOC it,” said Ikram.

Praise for OHA of­fi­cial

Ikram also ap­pre­ci­ated the ef­forts of Shakir Mu­nir, the in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions man­ager of the OHA, for play­ing an ac­tive role in fa­cil­i­tat­ing the agree­ments to or­gan­ise the forth­com­ing tri­an­gu­lar se­ries in­volv­ing Pak­istan and Ja­pan from Fe­bru­ary 14.

“When an as­so­ci­a­tion has an ac­tive of­fi­cial, it helps in the smooth or­gan­i­sa­tion and Shakir has been pro-ac­tive in cor­re­spon­dence with the par­tic­i­pat­ing na­tions and the AHF,” said Ikram.

Shakir is also the na­tional team goal­keep­ing coach and the AHF in co­or­di­na­tion with the FIH will host the first-ever goal­keep­ing coaches' course in March on the side­lines of the Asian Games Qual­i­fiers in March.

On Mon­day, when the OHA and AHF signed a deal and an­nounced the Asian Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in Mus­cat, OHA pres­i­dent Wa­haibi also lauded Mu­nir's role.

Khalid al Zubair, the OOC chair­man and an IOC mem­ber

Tayyab Ikram, CEO of the AHF and a mem­ber of IOC sports com­mis­sion

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