World Athletics announced at its annual congress in Tokyo on Wednesday that Oman is the host of the 2022 World Race Walking Team Championships. The event will take place from March 1 to 6, 2022, at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre and will be organised in partnership between Oman Sail, the Oman Athletics Association and OCEC.
The event will be held for the first time in the Middle East and is expected to attract 1,700 athletes.
The bid for the event by Oman Sail was based on its expertise in hosting international events of world-class standards as well as its network with international federations of various sporting disciplines.
Dr Khamis al Jabri, CEO of Oman Sail, said, “We are delighted to be able to lend our expertise in managing large international events in order to make sure the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships are a huge success. As hosts, this is a prime opportunity to develop the sultanate as an attractive venue for international athletics and inspire our own people to pursue their sporting ambitions. The country prides itself on its authenticity and will offer a warm welcome to athletes from around the world in 2022.”
Following the announcement, Mohammed al Asmi, board member of Oman Athletics Association, said, “This is a great opportunity to enhance athletics in Oman. We have seen in the past how enthusiastic the Omani people are for home grown and international events and to be able to bring a major championship to the country has the potential of positioning athletics as one of the leading sports in Oman. We are excited to provide the stage for the world’s best race walkers to perform and anticipate an amazing debut for Oman as hosts of the event.”
Each national athletics federation will select a squad to represent their country in Oman. The event will feature male and female 20km races, U20 male and female 10km races and Masters categories, scheduled for March 4, 2022. The following day, there will be a 35km combined race. The week of racing in Muscat will include a celebration of athletics with 1km and 2km Kids’ Run and Park Run Festival events either side of the main competition with a health and fitness exhibition on site to inspire budding local athletes to become more active.
Eng Said al Shanfari, CEO of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, said, “We are immensely proud to have been chosen to host the championship. The sultanate has enjoyed a period of rapid sporting growth and earned a strong reputation as excellent hosts as a result. We look forward to delivering another inspiring competition which will have a profound effect on the nation’s youth and further raise the country’s profile internationally.”
Muscat will provide a spectacular backdrop to the event, offering world-class accommodation and hospitality for athletes and race officials while also lending a rugged and rich cultural experience to the championship. Racing will centre around Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in the heart of Muscat.
The route will take competitors through pristine landscaped gardens featuring a variety of elevations to challenge the racers and provide a perfect viewing platform for a live audience within the Spectators Village. Training camps will be set up at Barceló Mussanah Resort, dusitD2 Naseem Resort and Golden Tulip in Nizwa to allow the competitors to acclimatise before embarking on the race.
This will be the first time the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships will be held in the Middle East and the first time outside China that an Asian nation hosts the event. The event was originally due to be held in Minsk, Belarus, but travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to be rescheduled. Oman now has the opportunity to make history and usher in a new era for athletics in the sultanate.