Unity & harmony as 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games open.
Palembang: The Sultanate joined 45 other Islamic nations to celebrate the opening of 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games in South Sumatra's capital city of Palembang yesterday. The inaugural ceremony, organised at the Jaka Baring Stadium, was graced by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and was attended by heads of states, ISSF officials and representatives from the participating nations. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in his speech spoke about Islamic countries unity. Paying special tribute to the Egyptian, Syrian and Palestinian delegations attending the Games, he said: "Let's put aside our political burden. Through this event, let's prove to the world that Islamic countries can live in unity and harmony." The evening's programme, which included a cultural show and fireworks, depicted history and arts of Indonesia. During the simple but impressive ceremony, Oman Olympic Committee (OOC) Chairman Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed Al Zubair presided the Omani delegation along with other members who all participated in the teams parade. Flag-raising ceremeony Earlier in the day, the Omani delegation participated in the ceremonial flag-raising at the Athletes Village in the presence of OOC General Secretary Taha Al Kishry, board member Jihad Al Sheikh and the other officials as well as Omani athletes. Taha lauded the efforts of the organising committee for making perfect arrangements, especially for the Omani mission. Meanwhile, most of the Oman teams reached here yesterday except the swimming team, who are expected to arrive in the coming days. Sprint star Barkat Al Harthy and fellow athlete Mohammed Obaid Hindi arrived straight from their training camp in Malaysia and took part in the opening ceremony. The rest of the athletes and tennis teams also arrived yesterday. The Oman beach volleyball teams, meanwhile, started training yesterday morning in the Athletes Village. The Omani sand spikers have come here after a weeklong rigorous training camp in Thailand and are hoping to compete for podium finishes. Teams comprising Ahmed Al Hosni, Badr Al Subhi, Hassan Al Balushi, Haitham Al Shuraiki are training hard under the watchful eyes of coach Khalifa Al Jabri. The Omani weightlifters Sultan Al Marhoobi and Muhanna Mohammed Al Abdali, who are being coached by Suhail Al Kulaibi, faced minor hassles due to change in schedule but managed to train for about two hours once the problem was sorted out. The Games were first hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2005 when men and women had to compete on separate days and men were barred from watching women swim. The second edition, which was scheduled to be hosted by Iran, was called off at the last minute. According to reports, the organisers of this third Games have decided not to have any restrictions on athletes while also rejecting requests by some countries to stage men and women events on separate days.
Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2013
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