Sports of Oman
The most popular traditional sport in Oman, camel racing, still attracts a lot of people. Bedouin breed and train the camels for the races, which take place on racetracks and on makeshift courses in the open desert. Horse and even dhow racing are also sports that enjoy strong competition. The elite practices falconry.
Since the 1970s, Oman has endeavoured to promote sports and raise the level of competition. Football, basketball, rugby, cricket, athletics, taekwondo, swimming, diving, waterskiing, climbing, motor crossing, and even sand surfing have since become popular sports. In the afternoon, men and boys gather to play football in many towns, villages and on the beach. In 2004, the Ministry of Sports Affairs was established to replace the General Organization for Youth, Sports and Cultural Affairs.
400 metre runner Mohammed bin Amer was the first Omani to win a gold medal at the Asian Games held in Beijing in 1990. In 2008, Oman was represented by a female sportswoman at the Olympic Games for the first time in its history. Buthaina al-Yaqoubi, 16 years old, competed in the women’s 100-metre sprint, as well as the long jump and the triple jump. Other athletes include shooter Dad Allah al-Balushi, athlete Abdullah al-Sooli and swimmer Mohammed al-Habsi.
To date, Habiba al-Hinai occupies the highest position by a female in sports, as board member of the Omani Olympic Committee and the Oman Sports Club and vice chairwoman of the Oman Volleyball Association. Al-Hinai was a torchbearer for the Beijing Olympic relay in Muscat. In 2009, Oman hosted the 19th Gulf Cup, where Oman’s football team triumphed as title holder; the volleyball and handball teams both came second.
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