The first edition of the GCC Olympics games will convene under the slogan "One Gulf, One Goal" from October 11th to 22nd under the auspices of King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Six countries are participating in the games: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, along with host country Bahrain.
Athletes will compete in ten sports: football, basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics, bowling, swimming, cycling, women's table tennis, and goal ball for the blind.
Observers told Al-Shorfa that the first GCC Olympics tournament would become the largest sports event of its kind in the Arab Gulf region, emphasising its importance for improving the performance of teams and athletes from the Gulf countries for international Olympics games.
Mohamed Salemin, captain of Bahrain's national football team, said his country has been, and continues to be, at the forefront of hosting the first editions of Gulf sporting tournaments. He said the Kingdom has the ability to hold the Gulf Olympics competition "efficiently and successfully" at both the technical and organisational levels.
"Bahrain is easily able to make this Gulf 'marriage' of an Olympic nature a success, thanks to its qualified national staff. It is certain to be successful in staging the Gulf sports forum, as Bahrain previously successfully hosted the first edition of the Gulf Football Tournament," Salemin said.
Salemin noted Bahrain's need to organise major sports tournaments of this sort in order to develop its athletic infrastructure such as playing fields, auditoriums and essential facilities.
Regarding football on the list of Olympic sports, Salemin predicted that the Gulf teams would participate with second-string teams because of their preoccupation with the World Cup qualifiers and London Olympics qualifiers at the same time.
The Gulf Olympic games competitions are being held in four main facilities: Bahrain National Stadium, Issa Sports City, Khalifa Sports City and the auditorium of the Sitra Mall bowling hall.
Mohamed Lawri, a member of the Olympics Executive Committee and chairman of the media committee of the Bahraini Olympics Committee, said all arrangements for hosting the games were completed as planned.
Lawri said the Gulf Olympics torch relay began last Friday in front of Bab Al-Bahrain Square in the capital Manama. The torch relay spanned five provinces, taking about two hours in each, and the torch was handed to the final runner in the opening ceremony at Bahrain National Stadium on Tuesday (October 11th), in the presence of the King of Bahrain.
Lawri said that Bahrain's hosting of the first Gulf Olympics is the greatest evidence of stability in the Kingdom after the recent political events, and that the crisis that gripped the country was "transient and its fallout quickly dissipated".
He said that Bahrain has a good chance of winning medals in a number of team and individual sports because it will benefit from the home advantage and fans, in addition to Bahrain's distinguished showing in previous competitions.
Hussein Shaker, a player on Bahrain's national basketball team, said the Bahraini team will work hard to win the Gulf Olympics basketball title.
"Our national team has a good combination of young players in addition to [players] with long experience in the stadiums, so I think our chances of reaping a golden basketball are great with our players' physical and technical preparations," he said
Shaker said Bahrain's basketball team was well-prepared for the Gulf Olympics as a result of their participation in the recent Asian championship in China and by taking part in an internal camp in preparation for the Gulf games.