FIH keen to make Oman regional centre: Talib al Wahaibi

Talib al Wahaibi (left) presented a memento to Batra in Muscat on Thursday

The world hockey governing body is keen to make Oman the centre for regional development of the game in the future, according to Narinder Batra, the president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). 

Batra, who was on a day-long visit to Muscat on Thursday, met top officials of the Ministry of Sports Affairs, the Oman Olympic Committee (OOC) and the Oman Hockey Association (OHA).

During the discussions, Batra expressed his willingness to make Oman the hub for regional development of hockey. In his remarks to Muscat Daily, Talib al Wahaibi, the OHA chairman, said, “We had fruitful discussions with the FIH chief. Oman is a key nation to promote the game in the region and the world body chief has agreed to help Oman on all fronts to promote the game.”

Batra met H E Sheikh Rashad al Hinai, the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Sports Affairs, and also held talks with Khalid al Zubair, the OOC chairman.

Batra, who was on his first visit to Oman, was felicitated by the OHA's board at its headquarters.

‘Neutral venue for Pakistan’

Wahaibi said that Batra had expressed his interest to make Oman a neutral venue for the Pakistan national team.


Narinder Batra (left) with Khalid al Zubair at the OOC headquarters

With security a concern for touring national sides to Pakistan, Batra during talks with Zubair and Wahaibi and stressed that the FIH would be happy to have Oman as a neutral venue for Pakistan's international fixtures.

Wahaibi, however, added that the arrangement isn't yet official since 'a formal request is yet to be made' by the FIH. “Once we receive a request from the FIH, we would approach the sports ministry for the necessary approval as we are more than happy to host games of Pakistan,” said Wahaibi.

With the FIH mooting the proposal of home and away games for the Champions Trophy that will serve as the Olympics qualifiers, the Pakistan team making Oman its base would benefit hockey fans in the country as they can catch some of the best teams in action up close.

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