Issa al Adawi sparkles in GCC Swimming Championship

Issa al Adawi (centre) on the podium at the GCC meet in Dammam

He is known as Oman’s ‘medal machine’. Issa al Adawi, the precocious, teenaged swimmer, has time and again lived up to that tag - scripting his latest success story recently in Dammam, Saudi Arabia at the 26th GCC Swimming Championships. 

The competition was held from August 24-27. The 17 year old led the sultanate's challenge by scooping as many as six medals, comprising four gold and two silver.

Oman returned home on Sunday from the championships with a total haul of 23 medals that included ten gold, six silver and seven bronze. Oman finished overall third in the open and junior categories.

It was the stellar performance of Issa, a student of The Sultan's School, that literally set the pool ablaze as he featured in four new Oman national records.

Issa broke his existing 1,500m freestyle national record with a time of 17m14.88s on his way to his first gold in the open category.

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al Adawi checks his timing after finishing the 1,500m freestyle race at the GCC Swimming Championships in Dammam, Saudi Arabia recently

His other national record came with a title win in the U17 category's 400m freestyle race with a time of 4m11.22s. The other two gold medals were bagged by Issa in the 800m freestyle (8m52.80s) in the open class and in the U17 100m freestyle with a time of 54.26s.

The medal rush continued for Issa as he set a new Oman record during his silver medal triumph in the U17 200m freestyle, clocking 1m56.84s.

The last of his six medals was in Oman's 4x100m relay freestyle silver medal finish, in which he swam along with Abdulrahman al Kulaibi, Musallam al Khaduri and Nidal al Harrasi. The quartet clocked 8m13.06s, posting a national record.

In his remarks to Muscat Daily, Issa said, “I was expecting good results as I had prepared well for the championships. I was mentally geared up to break a couple of national records, and I am happy that I could do it. My coach Kamal Khamri had organised good build-up for the swimmers. This is the reason we could do well in Dammam.”

Issa, who had attended a training camp in Toronto, Canada last year, said, “That camp did a world of good to me and I am now hopeful of doing well in bigger competitions.” Issa is looking forward to the tenth Asian Swimming Championships from November 14-20 in Tokyo, Japan.

“I hope to come up with a better display in a top-class field in Tokyo,” said Issa.

In Dammam, Issa got good support from his teammate, 18 year old Abdulrahman. Abdulrahman won a golden double in the open event in 400m individual medley (4m52s) and 200m individual medley (2m14.93s), and also bagged two silver medals.

He finished second in the 200m backstroke (2m19s) and his second silver came in the 4x100m freestyle relay. The other medal winners in the open category were Musallam, with a silver in 800m freestyle (9m05.94s), and Nidal, who won a bronze in 1,500m freestyle (17m39.78s).

Oman's age-group teams - featuring the categories of 11-12 yrs, 13-14 yrs - did not disappoint either.

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Oman’s Muhannad al Auladthani (second from left) on the podium

Muhannad al Auladthani claimed two gold (50m backstroke, 34.85s; 100m backstroke, 1m15.81s). Khalfan al Wahaibi bagged a gold (50m freestyle, 30.09s) and two silver (50m butterfly, 32.33s; 100m freestyle, 1m04.09s), while Ammar al Wahaibi won three bronze (50m freestyle, 30.39s; 100m freestyle, 1m05.14s; 200m freestyle, 2m21.39s).

Muhannad, Khalfan and Ammar were joined by Bashar al Kulaibi and the quartet won the 4x100m freestyle relay gold in a time of 4m24.59s and a bronze in the 4x100m individual medley (5m13.19s).

Shihab Aladdin was the only medal winner for Oman in the 13-14 year category as he took two bronze medals. The medals came in 400m freestyle (4m49.15s) and 200m backstroke (2m35.53s).

Taha al Kishry, the Oman Swimming Association's chairman, congratulated the team and its coaching staff for their overall performance. Kishry is also the chairman of the GCC Swimming Organising Committee.

The team's delegation in Dammam included Abdulmoneim al Alawi, an OSA board member, Aiman al Kulaibi as assistant coach and other coaching staff.

At the last championships in Doha, Qatar in 2015, Oman had bagged 30 medals (seven gold, seven silver and 16 bronze) that included Issa's five gold medals.

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