Abdullah to lead Oman’s U18 challenge at GCC tournament
Oman's top youngster Abdullah al Barwani will spearhead the hosts' challenge in the U18 category when the GCC U18 and U14 Championships will begin at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC) on December 22. Organised by the Oman Tennis Association (OTA), the tournament will feature all GCC countries except the UAE.
Abdullah has been having a good run in recent months and also won a doubles title last month at the ITF Bahrain tournament with Saudi Arabia's Saud al Qahbani as his partner.
Earlier in February, Abdullah played a key role along with experienced Mohammed al Nabhani, Younis al Rawahi and Muneer al Rawahi, in securing Oman's promotion to Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group III.
Abdullah will be joined by Muneer, Zakariya al Suleimani and Abdullah al Raisi as Oman hopes to finish on the podium in the U18 category under the watchful eyes of their trainer, Nabeel Dob of Algeria.
As part of the preparations for the upcoming tournament, Abdullah is currently away for a training camp at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris.
The U14 side will comprise Marwan al Khanjari, Issa al Suleimani, Ali al Barwani, Taha al Wahaibi and Tawadh al Riyami. The team is coached by Algerian Sufyan Dob and Russian Sergey Pershin.
Earlier on Tuesday, the OTA held a press conference to provide details of the championships, which will be held from December 22-29.
Speaking on the occasion, Khalid al Adi, the OTA chairman, said, “We are happy to host the GCC tournament and are ready to welcome the teams. We hope our boys will give their best on their home courts.”
Also present on the occasion was Mundhir al Barwani, the OTA secretary, Salman al Balushi, the OTA executive manager, and Moosa al Hinai, the OTA board member.
In February, Oman had hosted the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group IV competition. The OTA chief said that the board is committed to make the upcoming GCC event a grand success.
According to Barwani, who is also the tournament director, all the teams will be put up at Al Morooj Grand Hotel and the tournament draw will be held on December 21.
Meanwhile Balushi said, “Kuwait's Aseel Shahin will the chief referee for the championships while Oman's Abdulrazzaq Saad will be the assistant chief referee. The GCC technical committee will comprise Abdul Redha al Ghareeb of Kuwait as chairman and includes Barwani, Shahin, Said and myself as members.”
Balushi also said that while the U14 event be a team tournament, the U18 will feature players vie for the singles and team titles.