Ahead of the start of the much-awaited Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 on 18 October 2018, the Asian Hockey Federation Chief Executive Dato Tayyab Ikram, along with host nation Oman Hockey Federation President Capt Talib Al Wahaibi and his Excellency Sheikh Rashad Ahmed Al Hinai, Under Secretary, Ministry of Sports Affairs unveiled the glittering Trophy amidst an elite gathering that included the six Captains from the participating nations India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and 18-member Oman team here on Tuesday.
Speaking on the occasion, AHF Chief Executive Dato Tayyab Ikram said, “This is the first time, an international hockey event of this magnitude is being held in Oman and the AHF is delighted with the overwhelming support received from the Oman Hockey Federation in organising this event.
I would like to thank the Oman Hockey Federation President Capt Talib Al Wahaibi and Minister of Sports Affairs, His Execellency Sheikh Sa’ad bin Mohammed bin Said al Mardhouf al Sa’adi and also His Execellency Sheikh Rashad Ahmed Al Hinai, Under Secretary, Ministry of Sports Affairs for their relentless support.
We are once again grateful to have Hero MotoCorp, one of India’s most successful businesses and an organization that has shown extraordinary support for the sport over a number of years, as title sponsors for the 5th edition of Asian Champions Trophy.
I am pleased to share that the tickets for most of the matches are sold out and this shows the enthusiasm of the sports-loving people of Oman. I am sure the world class players who have arrived for this important tournament will leave the hockey lovers of Oman enthralled.”
Dato Tayyab Ikram further added that bringing the event to Muscat was important to promote the sport in this region.
“Hockey in Oman is on the rise with the national team showing a lot of promise. As part of Asian Hockey Federation’s endeavour to promote, grow and professionalize the sport in Asia, it was important to bring a major tournament to this region.
I hope this event will inspire more and more youngsters from Oman to take up hockey,” the AHF Chief Executive stated.
Meanwhile, Oman Hockey Federation President Capt Talib Al Wahaibi expressed his delight over hosting world class players for the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018.
“We are elated to have world class players in the Sultanate of Oman and over the span of ten days, hockey lovers will get to witness top-class hockey.
I am grateful for the AHF to have given us an opportunity to host a marquee Asian event and I am hopeful all the participating nations will enjoy their stay in Muscat, I wish all the teams the very best,” Capt Talib Al Wahaibi said.
His Excellency Sheikh Rashad Ahmed Al Hinai, Under Secretary Ministry of Sports Affairs, who unveiled the trophy said, “We are very happy to host the Hero Asian Champions Trophy here in Muscat.
It is a matter of pride that so many players of international repute are here in the Sultanate of Oman to showcase their talent and eagerness to perform to their potential.
I wish all the teams the very best and hope that all the officials, teams and those traveling from other parts of Asia for this event have a pleasant stay.”
Introduced in 2011, with the first edition played in Ordos, China, the Asian Champions Trophy is a marquee event in the Asian Hockey Federation’s calendar.
The inaugural edition was clinched by India while Pakistan won the title twice in 2012 and 2013 before India could lift the title again in 2016 held in Kuantan, Malaysia.
This year’s tournament will witness stiff competition among the top performing teams from across Asia with big stakes at play, especially in the lead-up to the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup, Bhubaneswar 2018 slated to begin on November 28, 2018.
India is the top ranked team among the competing teams at 5th position in the latest FIH Hero World Rankings, while Japan, the Asian Games title holders are ranked No.16 in the world.
World No.12 Malaysia, World No.13 Pakistan, World No. 14 Korea and a highly inspired Oman team round up an exciting mix of teams promising a fiercely competed tournament ahead.
The opening match on 18 October 2018 will be played between Japan and Malaysia at 18.55 hours local time while the second match will be played between hosts Oman and Defending Champions India at 21.10 hours local time.