Bolt, Phelps on Oman radar for exhibition

If the Ministry of Sports Affairs has its way, global sporting icons Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps may show up at the Oman Sports Exhibition & Conference 2013, which will be held in Muscat from February 4-6.

The ministry has drawn up a list of international sporting personalities who would be approached in the coming weeks to appear at the conference on the sidelines of the three-day exhibition at the Oman International Exhibition Centre in Seeb.

Also on the sports ministry's radar is former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, as the organisers are trying to put together a host of celebrated sportspersons, international dignitaries and sporting experts to participate in the day-long conference on February 5.

The ministry hopes that the invitees will share their knowledge and experience during discussions on matters of fitness and sports development. The sports exhibition will be a novel effort in Oman, aimed at creating a platform for domestic and overseas sports equipment manufacturers to display their wares and knowhow with local sportspersons and sportsrelated clients in the country. Fahad al Raisi, director general of sports welfare and development at the sports ministry, who is overseeing the build-up to the event, told Muscat Daily that plans are on to rope in big names. “We do have plans to bring a few international sportspersons like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Pep Guardiola. But these are big sports personalities, and we are checking their availability and time tables,” he said.

“There are many other names we are targeting. The final list of names will be worked out soon. We want to keep it a surprise for now before things are finalised.” Raisi said that the first-of-its kind exhibition in Oman would be held in a visually-appealing stadium-styled arena that will be erected for the three-day affair. It will feature equipment and apparel stalls from local and international sports brands, thematic pavilions, and various traditional Omani sporting disciplines.

The sports ministry, which is holding the exhibition with the support of organiser Global Exhibitions & Conferences, is trying to get hold of sports dignitaries from the FIFA and the GCC region too, for lectures during the conference.

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