Asian beach games medals up for sale

By: Kabeer Yousuf

MUSCAT: Hundreds of medals of the much-touted Second Asian Beach Games held in 2010 at Al Musannah are up for sale at the Friday Market in Wadi Kabir, exposing lack of planning and carelessness by authorities concerned. Several gold and silver plated medals supposed to be given to the winners are lying silently as an epitome of negligence and are sold at RO 1 per piece. These medallions, shabby-looking, some worn out and some rusted, are supposed to be a portion of the many hundreds of such medals being sold across the country, according to a vendor.

When asked about the same, Abdurahiman al Balushi, the vendor sitting at the market waiting for the buyers, reluctantly said that he bought them from an agent in Muttrah along with several other used, old, nearly-expired, and other cheaper products to his merchandise. “I buy goods from many wholesale vendors in Muttrah and elsewhere. The medallions are from some vendors in Muttrah and I didn’t realise that they are supposed to be for the Asian Beach Games. But I have sold many pieces to various shoppers,” Al Balushi added.

When contacted, an official at the Ministry of Sports Affairs has expressed shock and bewilderment said ‘belittling the mega sports event which has hit the headlines of the global media in 2010’. “Indeed, it is a shame to see the coveted Asian Beach Games medals being sold in the market. We will inquire into the matter and find out the truth. I feel that this issue is trying to belittle the mega sports event held in 2010,” he said on condition of anonymity. The Second Asian Beach Games, a sporty reminder of Oman’s closely knit ties with the seas, were held in Muscat from December 8-16, 2010 with a grand opening ceremony at Al Musannah Sports City.

The Government of Oman had invested heavily in the landmark project which hosted nearly 45 countries from the Asian region. Omran, the government’s tourism wing, had developed 100-hectare site at Wudam al Sahil near Muscat to host the 2010 Asian Beach Games and it comprised a mixture of temporary and permanent facilities such as a hotel for media and guests, an athletes village, administration building, press and media centre, restaurants and recreational facilities, site wide infrastructure including a marina and adequate parking facilities. As many as 162 medals were given away to the winners of 14 events. Out of the 162 medals, 52 were gold, 52 silver and 58 bronze medals.

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER

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