Muscat – Over the weekend of March 4-5, over 361 athletes from 46 countries took to the landscaped gardens of the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre for the first ever World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships held in Oman.
Organised jointly by the Oman Athletics Association, Oman Sail and host venue OCEC, the event will go down in Oman’s sporting history as one of the most successful events to ever take place in the country.
Planned and delivered at short notice due to the impact of COVID-19 elsewhere, the Organising Committee proved their capability and the country’s readiness to host major world sporting events and liaise with global governing bodies in order to coordinate everything required for a successful event. The potential for Oman to compete on the global stage for international events was evident with every detail considered and praise from all corners, including Lord Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics.
Lord Coe said, “As President of world athletics, I know I speak on behalf of everybody in the World Athletics family when I say how delighted we are to be here in Oman for our World Race Walk Team Championships. These championships were delivered at very short notice and I know that my whole team here are incredibly grateful for the immense work that has been achieved in such a short space of time, both from the OCEC and supported by the great team at Oman Sail.”
He added, “Bringing our world championships into new territories is really important for us, we are delighted to be here, we want this to be a bridgehead for further events, particularly in track and field. We’re delighted that you have chosen us as one of the sports that you want to focus on in the Oman Sports Strategy to 2024 and that is something we cherish.”
Dr Khamis al Jabri, CEO of Oman Sail, said, “It was a great honour for Oman and the city of Muscat to step in to ensure the dreams of so many athletes from around the world could be fulfilled. We appreciate the trust placed in us by World Athletics and the competitors, and hope that the experience of hosting this event will be the gateway to more high-profile events visiting our country. The team at Oman Sail, OCEC and our partners have proven themselves as highly capable hosts and Oman itself as an attractive venue for a wide variety of events. We anticipate a bright future for sport in the Sultanate.”
Sheikh Salim Al Amri, President of the Oman Athletics Association, said, “Oman has a lot of potential to grow into a world-class host of sporting events, especially in athletics. We are blessed with perfect conditions during the winter months when many parts of the world are not conducive to outdoor events. It is a proud moment for the Oman Athletics Association to join with Oman Sail and OCEC to deliver such a national success. We are equally as proud to have formed a national team for what is a new athletics discipline within the country. Our hope is that this event, and the events that are sure to follow, serve as inspiration for generations of Omani athletes to compete at the highest level.”
The event also provided a huge boost to the national economy, particularly in hotel occupancy, inbound arrivals and the hospitality sector, proving the impact that hosting major events can have on all sectors.