Remarks by Ambassador at the Inauguration ceremony of the UTSC Gulf Cup Hockey Fiesta 2022

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Inauguration ceremony of the UTSC Gulf Cup Hockey Fiesta 2022
October 28, 2022
Remarks by Ambassador Amit Narang

Good Evening,

It gives me immense pleasure to be here with you at the inauguration ceremony of the UTSC Gulf Cup Hockey Fiesta 2022, the flagship hockey tournament conducted under the patronage of the Oman Hockey Association and approved by the Asian Hockey Federation.

It is exciting to know that six international hockey teams are participating, apart from the six teams from Oman participating in the tournament.

Let me express my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Marwan Juma Al Juma- the chairman of the Oman Hockey Association, for the wholehearted support and guidance given to promote Hockey in Oman.

Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate and appreciate the efforts of the UTSC sports club for taking the lead in organizing this tournament and popularizing Hockey in Oman.

UTSC has made this tournament an all-encompassing and inclusive movement by including a special match between Oman National Women's team and Dubai Hockey Club, apart from games for boys and girls of Indian Schools in Oman.

As you all know, Hockey is one of the oldest and most popular sports played in India and has a long-standing rich legacy in the country. India has loomed large in the arena of world hockey and produced some of the finest players the game has ever seen. Players like Dhyan Chand, Balbir Singh, K.D. Singh, Dhanraj Pillay, and Dilip Tirkey mesmerized us with their absolute domination and deft wizardry. The list goes on.

India's achievements in the game of Hockey need no reiteration to this audience.

In the golden era of Indian Hockey between 1928 and 1956, the Indian Men's Hockey team won six straight Olympic gold medals, winning 24 matches, scoring 178 goals, and conceding only 7 in the process. Altogether India has won 12 Olympic medals, of which 8 are Gold, one is Silver, and 3 are Bronze. India also has a well-established Women's hockey team, which has won several medals, including the Gold in the 2002 Common Wealth Games, Women's Asia Cup, and Asia Champions Trophy.

Oman has the longest affiliation with Hockey compared to any other country in the region. Hockey in Oman dates back more than a century, and the Oman Hockey Association, formed in 1973, has been instrumental in popularizing Hockey in the country.

There is an interesting connection between India and Oman in Hockey. It was the former Indian Hockey coach Saiyed Ali Sibtain Naqvi who revolutionized the game of Hockey in Oman. He was a well-loved and respected figure in the sports field and was the coach of the Indian Hockey Team, both Men & Women, before taking over as coach of the Oman Hockey team in 1982.

We remember him today as Oman Hockey is finally taking its place on the world stage.

These are exciting times for Hockey in Oman as the Sultanate has been selected to host the inaugural Hockey 5s World Cup to be held in January 2024.

Let me assure the Oman Hockey Association of all the support and cooperation from India for successfully conducting the inaugural Hockey 5s World Cup.

Before I conclude, let me also wish all the teams participating in the UTSC Gulf Cup Hockey Fiesta 2022 the very best.

Thank you.