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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 20/01/2013

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Despite a poor showing in the opening round of the inaugural World Hockey League (WHL) in Qatar late last year, Oman has made it to round two of the marquee competition of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The second round will be played in New Delhi, India, from February 18-24. Oman had finished a lowly fourth in the five-nation opening round in Doha from November 27-December 2. Top-finisher Azerbaijan and second-placed Qatar had directly advanced to the second round. However, the FIH disqualified Qatar because of eligibility issues with its players, and No 3 Sri Lanka was promoted to seal the spot in the second round. However, the Sri Lankans have pulled out of the New Delhi event, prompting the FIH to invite Oman. Saad Mohy Zaghlool, the Oman Hockey Association's (OHA) technical director, said, ''Oman will participate in round two of the WHL. We received an official communication from the FIH on this issue on Wednesday.''Zaghlool added, ''What we know is that Sri Lanka withdrew from round two and [that is why] the chance came our way to complete the six-team line-up. We are ready for it.'' Oman and Azerbaijan apart, the second round features hosts India, China, Bangladesh and Ireland. Oman, which is currently ranked 35th in the world, doesn't have a full-time coach yet, while interim coach K K Poonacha guided the side in Doha.The Oman team will start training in Muscat on Sunday under assistant coach Ahmed Darmaki, and the OHA board will meet on Tuesday to pick a new coach. Darmaki said, ''The tournament in New Delhi will be good exposure for our boys. We have a month in hand to train hard for the competition.''

 






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