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Maldives contingent departs to IOIG with high hopes

17 July 2019, MVT 18:30
Athlete Hassan Saaid departing to participate in the Indian Ocean Island Games. PHOTO: MALDIVES OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (MOC)
17 July 2019, MVT 18:30

The Maldivian contingent on Wednesday departed to Mauritius with high hopes for the Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) which commences Friday.

The contingent of 226 members included all the athletes except the football team, which departed earlier on Tuesday as the IOIG football event takes place on Thursday.

The delegation of Maldives is led by Maizaan Ali Manik (Alibe), while the Chef De Mission is famous basketball coach Ibrahim Nahid.

Although IOIG is the second international competition Maldives competed in, the games were the starting point of the country's success in sports. Maldives achieved medals in table tennis and badminton in the 1979 IOIG held in Reunion Island. In the latest games held at Reunion, Maldives brought home nine out of 10 targeted medals, the most notable being runner Hassan Saaid winning gold, a first for Maldives in a multi-sports event.

Maldives is competing in nine sports in this year's Games, including Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach volleyball, Football, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis and Indoor Volleyball.

In order to achieve the aim of bagging 15 medals this year, Maldives Olympic Association, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, and various sports associations facilitated special trainings for the teams.

The opening ceremony of 2019 IOIG will be held on Friday. The honour of hoisting the Maldivian flag at the ceremony is granted to national basketball player, Ahmed Zabir.

Maldives is currently seeking to host the IOIG in 2023. Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ahmed Mahloof and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid are currently touring the Indian Ocean, as a Special Envoy of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, to seek support for the Maldives' bid.

Hosting an international competition in the Maldives was on of President Solih's electoral pledges. The government stated that efforts to hold an international competition in Maldives are being carried as part of the development process.

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