The Maldives contingent arrived in Madagascar on Thursday for the eagerly anticipated Indian Ocean Island Games, scheduled to take place from  25 August to 3 September.

Over 170 athletes from the Maldives will participate across the eleven sports, which include tennis, volleyball, swimming, badminton, table tennis (TT), basketball (both five-on-five and three-on-three variants), handball, taekwondo, athletics, and para-athletics. Of particular note is the country’s debut participation in three-on-three basketball, handball, and taekwondo. The absence of beach volleyball and surfing from the Games is noteworthy, particularly considering the Maldives’ prior success in these categories. The country secured two medals in beach volleyball during the 2019 Games.

The Maldives Olympic Committee (MOC) has refrained from setting a specific medal target for this year’s campaign. Nevertheless, the aspiration remains to outshine the previous performance. In the last iteration of the Games held in Mauritius, the Maldives secured an impressive tally of 15 medals, marking an impressive achievement in the country’s history at the IOIG.

Months of rigorous preparation by the Maldives’ sports associations have gone into honing the skills of the teams set to represent the nation at the Games. To further bolster their prospects, certain athletes have undergone specialised training supported by the Bank of Maldives Scholarship, the Artha Scholarship granted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs, and the Solidarity Scholarship extended by the International Olympic Council. These efforts are directed not only towards this year’s competition but also with an eye on the forthcoming Olympics.

The opening ceremony of the 11th IOIG, a spectacle in its own right, is scheduled for Friday. Fathimath Dheema Ali, the reigning national table tennis champion, and Abdulla Faih Fazeel, the national tennis champion, have been selected as the flag bearers for the Maldives contingent at the opening ceremony.