Zubair quits as Oman Olympic Committee chairman
In a shocking development that has sent shock waves through the Oman's sporting fraternity, Khalid al Zubair tendered his resignation as the chairman of the Oman Olympic Committee (OOC) to the OOC board on Tuesday. The 47 year old sports administrator was in his second term as the OOC chief, having been re-elected for a four-year term in January, 2017.
Less than two years into his second term, Zubair's decision to quit has taken the Oman sports community by surprise.
A brief statement released by the OOC on Wednesday late afternoon, read, “The board of directors of the Oman Olympic Committee (OOC) announces that the chairman of Oman Olympic Committee, Sheikh Khalid bin Muhammad al Zubair has resigned from his position as the OOC chairman at a meeting held yesterday [Tuesday].
“The board expresses its utmost appreciation of the strenuous efforts taken by Sheikh Khalid during his tenure as the OOC chairman. The OOC has made considerable progress under Sheikh Khalid's leadership and the achievements over the past years were in the best interest of Oman sports.”
It was way back in April 2013 when Zubair made history as he became the first-ever elected chairman of the OOC.
A successful four-year stint was followed by his re-election as the OOC chief and in September 2017, he became only the second Omani to become an IOC member at the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru.
Following his decision to quit as the OOC chief on Tuesday, Zubair will also cease to be the IOC member as he was nominated to the IOC as one of the two members representing National Olympic Committees (NOCs) or a continental association of NOCs.
Former OOC vice-chairman Habib Abdulnabi Macki was the only other IOC member from the sultanate.
Sheikh Saif al Hosni, the OOC vice-chairman, will serve as the interim head with senior officials confirming that a new chief could take over after a few months.
In his remarks to Muscat Daily on Wednesday, a senior OOC official, on condition of anonymity said, “It is a personal decision of Sheikh Khalid. I believe he along with other board members are upset at the harsh and unreasonable criticism of the OOC leadership after the failure of Omani athletes to win any medals at the recently-concluded Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games.
“Zubair has put in his heart and soul to develop Olympic sports and was instrumental in adopting major changes at the OOC including the encouraging participation of private sector to boost sports.
“The reported blame on him and his board for being responsible for Jakarta failure from a section of media was disheartening for all of us. The respective associations are mainly responsible for the performances and not the OOC. Zubair was a man on a mission, who was keen to ring in changes for the good of Oman sports.”
Taha al Kishry, the OOC secretary-general, expressed his sadness on Zubair’s decision and said, “We worked as a team. To not have him in the OOC would make things difficult for me also. He is a true leader and has sacrificed a lot for the OOC and Oman sports.”
During Zubair's tenure, OOC had made significant contribution to the IOC’s objectives by adopting multi-faceted projects and programmes within OOC.
Under him, the OOC in its effort to ensure progress under the theme ‘Sport for Development’ had also formed ten supporting committees - planning and follow-up, Olympic Solidarity, anti-doping, women’s sport, athletes, sport for all, sport and environment, sports medicine, media and marketing.
Zubair was also instrumental in setting up of the first OOC Dispute Resolution and Arbitration for Sport Committee.