(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman has been clubbed in a tough Group C that includes last edition's runner-up Russia, Azerbaijan and Belarus for the 14th World University Futsal Championship to be played in Malaga, Spain from July 13-20.
The 16-team competition is part of the International University Sports Federation's (FISU) programme, which will be featuring a total of 26 World University Championships including the upcoming 2014 meet.
The previous edition - in Braga, Portugal in 2012 - had drawn participation from 4,384 student athletes from all over the world.
The World University Championship has been organised since 1962 under the auspices of the FISU, covering 53 countries in five continents. All the editions have witnessed a combined participation of 59,000 players so far.
The championship takes place every two years, and complements the Summer and Winter Universiades, which are also held every alternate year.
Salim al Araimi, chairman of the Oman Committee for Univesity Sports (OCUS), told Muscat Daily, ''This is going to be the third time in a row that we are participating in the World University Futsal Championship - the last one being in Braga, in 2012. We actually began our participation for this competition in 2010 in Serbia.''
Araimi added, ''We also participated in the multi-sport 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia last year. It was an enriching experience for our students.''
The OCUS chairman said, ''These events endeavour to satisfy the students' creativity and aspirations by regularly promoting sporting disciplines. The aim is to retain the spirit of play and encourage the development of an open and curious mind for university athletes.''
The Oman team is currently training at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex under coaches Sami al Yousfi and Abdullah al Shukairi.
Yousfi said, ''We are in a tough group that also has Russia, which was runner-up in the previous edition, and Azerbaijan, which finished seventh in that 14-team event.''
Teams: Group A: Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Israel; Group B: Ukraine, Brazil, Ireland, Germany; Group C: Russia, Oman, Belarus, Azerbaijan; Group D: Portugal, Georgia, China, Thaila