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ISSUE 04/10/2011




And the Boom of Regional Games


1953 to 1965: Egypt at the Helm of the Arab Games Movement

THE UNIQUE GAMES 1965 to 1985: The Gap

NEW ORDER, OLD CHALLENGES 1985 to 1999: The Revival of the Arab Games

SPORT MEGA-EVENTS 1999 to 2011: International Recognition of the Arab Games

His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani

His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani

Emir of the State of Qatar

The Heir Apparent


The Arab Games are much more than a sports festival. They can be regarded as a healthy, modern and peaceful way to develop Arab society. Only cultures that foster a healthy youth may promise wellbeing and a successful future. The Arab Games are a unique event based on Arab culture and international sports exchange. This combination of regional and global elements makes for a modern event in today’s world. The Arab Games Exhibition showcases the history and tradition of the Arab Games. It reflects the role of sports over the last 60 years in a festival dedicated to Arab youth. We hope that all families and communities attend the Arab Games, to support the athletes and inspire their children to become active participants in the world of sports for many decades to come.

H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani The Heir Apparent and President of Qatar Olympic Committee

The XII Arab Games in Qatar in December 2011, will be a wonderful example of a fully-integrated major sports event. The Games will bring men and women from the Arab nations together in Doha to compete in a range of sporting disciplines. The event will also welcome elite athletes with a disability, who will perform and demonstrate their skills in the Arab Para Games.



future major events.Sport has long been a national priority for Qatar, which recognizes how international competition and athletic excellence has a unique power to inspire, educate and bring people together. Indeed this commitment to the values of sport – and especially those of Olympism – is now reflected in Doha’s bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Qatar Museums Authority

The history of the Arab Games itself offers a wonderful illustration of sport’s capacity to build peace and understanding between different cultures, communities and nations. The first edition in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1953 took place at a time when many countries of the Arab world were becoming independent, or at least autonomous, from European powers. The Arab League was formed to unify the Arab nations culturally, politically and economically. Sport played an important role in this development, and was considered the most effective way to link young people across the region. This remains the case today, as we will see when the youth of the Arab world gather in Doha.

H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Chairperson Qatar Museums Authority

Qatar is honoured to be playing host to the XII Arab Games in December 2011. It will be an historic moment: the first time this important multi-sport festival has been held in a Gulf country. We also anticipate that Doha 2011 will set a new attendance record for the Arab Games. Hosting these Games will enable Qatar to further develop its strong sports and cultural heritage, building on the legacy of the 2006 Asian Games and also helping us, as a nation, towards hosting

The Qatar Museums Authority, with its responsibility to collect, restore, exhibit and educate, also recognizes its role in preserving the sports history and heritage of the Arab world. The Arab Games Exhibition has been extensively researched using local and international archives. It is an important and unprecedented showcase for an event whose significance stretches far beyond the field of play. Qatar is proud to host the Arab Games for the first time. Under the slogan “Doha, where everything comes together”,we are looking forward to welcoming the athletes of the Arab world, to continuing to build a strong legacy in sports and culture and to bringing the original Games vision – of unity through sport – to a new generation.




06 BIRTH OF THE ARAB GAMES And the Boom of Regional Games

08 SIDE STORIES 12 T HE ESTABLISHMENT OF ARAB SPORT 1953 to 1965: Egypt at the Helm of the Arab Games Movement

15 SIDE STORIES 22 THE UNIQUE GAMES 1965 to 1985: The Gap

24 SIDE STORIES 26 N  EW ORDER, OLD CHALLENGES 1985 to 1999: The Revival of the Arab Games

28 SIDE STORIES 36 SPORT MEGA-EVENTS 1999 to 2011: International Recognition of the Arab Games


Image on cover: © Farouk Ibrahim


Flag of the first Arab Games Alexandria 1953 © EOC



The Arab Games are a regional, multi-sport competition bringing together Arab athletes from the Middle East and North Africa. The first edition of the Games took place in 1953. Today, they are internationally recognized as a sporting mega-event. Throughout their history, the Arab Games have played an important role in shaping sport in the region, contributing towards infrastructure construction and the organization of sports in Arab countries as well as towards the development of sports for women and disabled athletes. The Arab Games are currently organized by the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees in cooperation with the Arab Youth and Sport Ministers Council. The event is founded

on the principles of Olympism and aims to educate through sports. In this way, the Arab Games have helped to break stereotypes about the Arab people. Beyond sport, the Games’ history demonstrates the cultural diversity of the Arab people and their countries. Through the Games, it is possible to reflect on the political challenges of the region, indicating that sport can never be seen as an isolated phenomenon of society. This exhibition aims to present the history of the Arab Games, their creation and development from the birth of the idea in 1947 until the present day. The exhibition is divided into the five following sections that illustrate different stages of development:

Section 01


And the Boom of Regional Games Section 02


1953 to 1965: Egypt at the Helm of the Arab Games Movement Section 03


1965 to 1985: The Gap Section 04


1985 to 1999: The Revival of the Arab Games Section 05


1999 to 2011: International Recognition of the Arab Games



BIRTH OF THE ARAB GAMES AND THE BOOM OF REGIONAL GAMES THE ARAB WORLD AFTER WORLD WAR II After World War II many countries of the Arab world gained independence or at least autonomy from European powers. This status of independence revealed a yearning for a sovereign identity among the Arab countries. The idea of unification or a panArab union was growing among Arab leaders. They were afraid of becoming European colonies again or being dominated by a neighbour state. Ideas for Arab unification were put on the table. On the one hand was the notion of no-boundaries between Arab countries, which was based on the shared culture and history of the Arabs and a rejection of boundaries created by the Europeans. On the other hand was the preservation of state sovereignty among Arab countries themselves. This included looking out for one’s own interest. In a period of changes in the Arab world, contemporary technological developments facilitated the dissemination of ideas and the organization of Arab unity. New and faster means of transportation and communication were bringing the Arab world closer together. BIRTH OF THE ARAB GAMES

The printing press of Cairo and Beirut were fostering common ways of thinking and writing. The Arab radio and film industries were not only means of communication but also strong disseminators of ideas and knowledge. The telephone, telegraph and airplane made all the important cities of the Arab world accessible. Arabs were hungry for exchange and used these new possibilities.

“There is no doubt that gathering the Arab youth every year is the best way for acquaintance, harmony and spiritual unity in accordance with the second article of the Arab League charter […] It is the best way to connect the youth of Arab States and enable them to build the future Arab nation”. This statement was the cornerstone for creating the Arab Games movement.



In March 1945, Egypt, Iraq, (Trans) Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and,a few months later, Yemen formed the Arab League. While political and economic issues characterized the League, a cultural treaty was also developed to promote cultural exchange among the youth in the Arab world. In consequence, the idea to promote and realize such an exchange through sports gained support, especially in the voice of Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam (1893 – 1976), the first General Secretary of the Arab League. In 1947 Azzam sent a letter to the Arab League and called for the establishment of a sports competition with the participation of all Arab countries. In his words:

Besides the birth of the Arab Games, other regional games around the globe were being established. This boom of regional games included the establishment of the Asian Games, the Pan-American Games and the Mediterranean Games all in 1951; the Spartakiads in 1957; the Southeast Asian Games in 1959; and later the Pacific Games in 1963 and the African Games in 1965. In 1952 the 47th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) established rules for regional games. Twelve requirements were drafted to protect the Olympic symbols and to underline the IOC’s leadership in sport. Alongside


these requirements, it was decided to include IOC members in the Regional Games Organizing Committees supporting the organizers in realizing the event in compliance with the Olympic Values. Nevertheless, the IOC did not recognize all regional games, and the Arab Games were among those it declined to endorse at this time. Mostly, the IOC was keen to avoid being caught up in any political issues which might compromise its policy of being politically neutral. In this way, the IOC was able to protect the integrity of the principles and values of the Olympic Movement.

The poster of the first Arab Games 1953 combines the flags of the participating countries with the logo of the Arab League Š EOC





AMÉRICA, ESPIRÍTO, SPORT, FRATERNITÉ The first Pan-American Sport Congress took place in 1940 in the Argentinean city of Buenos Aires, where it was decided to hold the first Pan-American Games in 1942 in the same city. However, World War II interfered with those plans. The second Pan-American Sports Congress, held in 1948, revived the plans and on February 25, 1951, the first Pan-American Games were inaugurated in Buenos Aires. To the present day, “América, Espiríto, Sport, Fraternité” is the motto of the Games symbolising the friendship among the American countries by displaying all the languages of the continent. The organization governing the Games was renamed in 1955 as the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). The colourful concentric circles in the PASO emblem have a symbolic meaning; the colours appear at least once in every national flag of the Americas. The similarity to the idea of the Olympic Flag, which also represents the different countries, is noteworthy.

EVER ONWARD On February 13, 1949 the Asian Games Federation was established. It decided to hold the Asian Games every four years, in the even years between the Olympic Games, starting in 1950. The Games’ motto “Ever Onward” reflected the Olympic Motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius”. The Indian Olympic Association was invited to hold the first Asian Games, which took place in New Delhi in 1951. From a present day perspective, one curious event can be found in the compulsory program of the Games: the fine arts competition. Thirty years later, during the Asian Games Federation Council meeting on November 26, 1981, a decision was taken to form the Olympic Council of Asia. The Council was officially established on November 16, 1982 in New Delhi. Since then, the Olympic Council of Asia has been responsible for governing the Asian Games.

First day cover of the first Asian Games in New Delhi, India. © QOSM Two postcards from the first Pan-American Games 1951 © QOSM



A LEGACY FOR THE ARAB GAMES The Mediterranean Games were first held in 1951 in Alexandria, Egypt, on the initiative of Mohamed Taher Pacha, President of the Egyptian Olympic Committee. The Mediterranean Games take place every four years, in the year following the Olympic Games. Several hosts of the Arab Games had previously organized the Mediterranean Games and were therefore able to use the same facilities for both events. This was the case with the first Mediterranean Games in Alexandria 1951, and the edition in Casablanca, Morocco 1983. Conversely, Beirut, Lebanon harnessed the legacy of the 1957 Arab Games to host the Mediterranean Games in 1959. Other Arab cities that have organized the Mediterranean Games include Tunis, Tunisia in 1967 where women athletes first participated; Algiers, Algeria in 1975; Latakia, Syria in 1987 and again Tunis, Tunisia in 2001. Poster of the first Mediterranean Games 1951 Š EOC Grand stand of the stadium in Alexandria Š EOC


10 HOISTING THE VERY FIRST OLYMPIC FLAG Pierre de Coubertin proposed the revival of the Olympic Games in 1894. In 1896 the first Olympics of modern times took place in Athens, Greece. However, it is remarkable that the first Olympic Flag bearing the now iconic Olympic Rings was used in a regional competition that was not an Olympic one; in fact, the flag was first hoisted on April 5, 1914 at the first Pan-Egyptian Games in Alexandria. Angelo Bolanaki had received the flag and the permission to use it from de Coubertin. Egypt organized these Games to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the formation of the International Olympic Committee. It was six more years before the Olympic Flag was to be used in Olympic Games (Antwerp 1920).

Medal from 1964 commemorating the 50th anniversary of hoisting the Olympic flag © EOC

The Olympic Flag from the Pan-Egyptian Games © The Olympic Museum

Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam © QOSM



Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam was an Egyptian citizen born in Giza in 1893. A politician by nature, Azzam played an important role in the Arab nationalist movement, first as a member of the Egyptian Wafd party and then as an independent candidate, before he finally became the first Secretary General of the Arab League in 1945.

Angelo Bolanaki, from Alexandria, can be considered the father of Egyptian sport. In 1908, he established the Mixed Federation for Sports Clubs intending to organize and regulate sports competitions in the country. It was the first attempt to organize sport in Egypt.



Azzam is considered one of the first Egyptians to promote Arab nationalism. Coming from a peasant family, he continually argued that Egyptians are related to other Arabs by more than just blood ties. His idea of an Arab identity was founded on geopolitical, economic and cultural aspects. Based on that, he was one of the first to promote the idea of cultural interchange between Arab countries. In consequence, on March 27, 1947, he proposed to hold sports competitions among the Arabs nations. In his memorandum, he stressed the role of sport as the most important way to connect the Arab youth to create future Arab nations. He identified sports as a means to enhance the health, virtues and social ties among the Arab youth. The Arab Games were seen as a way for the Arab League to achieve its goals. Azzam held his position as Secretary General of the Arab League until 1952. He died in 1976. However, his ideals still remained in the hearts of the Arab people, especially through the many books he wrote. His memorandum from 1947 has been considered the cornerstone of the Arab Games.

He was a well-connected sportsman. In 1906 he had met Pierre de Coubertin in Paris and they became good friends. Two years later de Coubertin asked him to be the first Egyptian International Olympic Committee member, which was approved by the IOC in 1910. In the same year, Bolanaki established the Egyptian Olympic Committee, in which he was appointed Secretary General.

Angelo Bolanaki Š EOC

Bolanaki’s dream was to host the Olympic Games in Alexandria. Thanks to his efforts, the stadium in Alexandria was planned and constructed and, in 1914, the first Olympic Flag was hoisted to mark the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the formation of the IOC. Nonetheless, he wanted more. He tried to organize the first African Games in Alexandria in 1929, but the Games failed to take place due to political factors. Bolanaki saw his dreams come partially true when Alexandria hosted the first Mediterranean Games in 1951 and two years later the first Arab Games. He remained a member of the IOC until his death in 1963.



THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ARAB SPORT 1953 TO 1965: EGYPT AT THE HELM OF THE ARAB GAMES MOVEMENT WE ARE ALL ONE FAMILY One year after Egypt had declared itself a Republic, the Arab Games in Alexandria 1953 were inaugurated. This was no coincidence. In the opening addresses, the Games were pronounced a symbol of a new era for Egypt and the Arab world: “I am very pleased to welcome the Arab Youth and their friends, who have come to join us in Egypt. I hope they consider this land as their home. They are neither our guests nor us their hosts; we are all one family” (Mohamed Naguib (1901 – 1984), Egyptian President, Opening Speech, Alexandria 1953). The family ideal represented a common basic societal structure in the Arab world: the family shares the same past, it fosters the same culture, language and religion, and it fights for the same cause. The first four editions represent this ideal of the family as well as Egypt’s strong influence in the establishment of the Arab Games movement. This era began in Egypt with the first Games in Alexandria in 1953 and ended in Egypt with the Arab Games in Cairo in 1965.

A COMMON CAUSE In the 1950s and 1960s, Egypt led the Arab world in many areas, not only sports. In fact, politics was their flagship interest. The Arab League headquarters in Cairo


and Gamal Abdel-Nasser (1918 – 1970) were the foundations of that leadership. Coming from a poor fellah family, Nasser enjoyed strong support among the poorer, lower class Egyptians. Simultaneously he unified the Arab leaders towards a common cause: the Palestinian cause. In the field of sports, this found its expression in the Arab Games, in which Palestine won 23 medals from 1953 to 1965. More important than the number or kind of medals Palestine won, was the inclusion of Palestine in the Arab world ideal. This ideal was expressed in the Games’ bylaws: “In order to unite the Arab youth in sporting competitions, to establish the core of relationships and support, and to help active youth in the region progress, the Arab League decided to establish the “Pan-Arab Games” tournaments similar to the Olympic Games” (Program guide, 1st Pan-Arab Games 1953).

THE FIRST GAMES The International Olympic Committee (IOC) members Ahmed D. Touny (Egypt), Sheik Gabriel Gemayel (Lebanon) and Hadj Mohamed Benjellon (Morocco) can be considered the ambassadors of the Arab Games of Alexandria 1953, Beirut 1957 and Casablanca 1961, respectively. They made extraordinary efforts to get IOC recognition or at least the approval of the International Sports Federations for their respective Games. This was seen

as a good opportunity to establish and organize sports in Arab countries. In Beirut 1957, 10 delegates from different international sports federations attended the Games to arbitrate the sports. According to regulations, athletes could only participate in the Arab Games if their countries’ national sports federations were affiliated to the international sports bodies. Nevertheless, the delegates had to allow some exceptions for many participating countries because they did not fulfil this requirement. Many of them did not even have a national sports body and it was the first time they understood the importance of one. The peak of the Egyptian ideal of Arab unity came to reality in 1958. From that time onwards, Egypt and Syria agreed to unite under one flag: the United Arab Republic (UAR). The Arab Games in Casablanca, 1961, saw the UAR at the top of the medals table. But the culmination came four years later, at the Games in Cairo, 1965. This fourth edition of the Games took place in the UAR. Even though Syria seceded from the union with Egypt in 1961, the 100 medals advantage over Iraq, the runner-up in the medals count, was a demonstration of the organizers’ superiority over other Arab countries.


Streetcar in Cairo in the 1960s. © American Geographical Society Library



Pin in the shape of the logo of the first Arab Games 1953 © EOC

A map indicating the participants of the Arab Games 1957 © EOC


Egyptian President Mohamed Naguib’s opening address, Alexandria 1953 © EOC

Handbook from the Arab Games 1961 © EOC

Gold medal from the Arab Games 1965 © EOC




THE 1965 PICTOGRAMS Pictograms are images that strikingly represent an object. It is a visual language that is easily recognizable by anyone. Sports symbols were already in use in 1936 at the Olympic Games. At the Tokyo 1964 Games, the first pictograms were used, inspiring Cairo, organizers of the Arab Games in 1965. Thirteen pictograms were printed in the final report of the Games. The publication from September 11, 1965 did not only document the results of the Arab Games of 1965, but also the results from all previous editions. Pictograms 1965 © EOC

Final report of 1965 © EOC


King Fuad I and Angelo Bolanaki at the inauguration of the new stadium in Alexandria in 1929 © EOC

The Alexandria Stadium was built in the 1920s and was financed by donations in Egyptian Pounds (livre égyptienne LE). Sultan Fuad I (the Ruler of Egypt) donated LE 3000, Prince Omar Toson (President of the Egyptian Committee) gave LE 2000, and Angelo Bolanaki (Secretary General of the Egyptian Committee) contributed LE 1000. Also the Municipality of Alexandria agreed to grant LE 500 to study the construction of the stadium. All in all, around LE 6500 were collected to fund the stadium. Construction started in 1921 and in 1929 the stadium was ready for the planned African Games. However, the Games did not take place because most of the participating countries were under the rule of European countries which did not support the Games. Thirty years after breaking ground, the stadium was renovated and became the location of the first Mediterranean Games. Two years later, it was the home of the first Arab Games. With a capacity for 20,000 spectators and a colossal illumination system of 250 lux, the main open area of the stadium was the stage of the opening and closing ceremonies, the athletics competitions, the football matches, and the gymnastics displays. The weightlifting contests took place at the annexed small hall.


16 INDONESIA Until 1965, the Arab Games regulations allowed countries that were not members of the Arab League to participate. Many countries that had Islamic or Muslim traditions, such as Indonesia, were specially invited for the Games held on Egyptian soil. Indonesia participated in the Arab Games of 1953 and 1965. In 1953, three Indonesian athletes competed in athletics, fencing and shooting, one in each sport. In the end they left with a surprising two medals in their hands. The Indonesian heroes were called Superman, the fencer, who won the silver medal in the sabre competition; and Sodarmojo, who received the silver medal after clearing 1.88m in the high-jump event.

Program from the first Arab Games 1953 © EOC


Cité Sportive Camille Chamoun Stadium in Beirut © Arab Image Foundation


THE ARAB SPORT CITY The “Cité Sportive Camille Chamoun” was a state-of-the-art sport complex in 1957. The Sport City included a swimming stadium with diving pool, a covered sports arena with 6,000 seats for indoor and combat sports, a tennis stadium that could also be used for basketball and volleyball, stands for shooting competitions and an equestrian stadium. Furthermore, the outdoor stadium offered space for 60,000 spectators and included a cycling track, running track, jumping and throwing areas and a football pitch. It was the venue for the Opening Ceremony of the Arab Games. Colourful dancing, marching and sports displays constituted the artistic part of the ceremony after the Lebanese President officially opened the Arab Games. There was a curious moment when the doves were released as part of the ceremony: most of them preferred to land on the fresh grass of the stadium, some of which were snatched up by young boys, probably for supper!




Ahmed El Demerdash Touny was born on August 10 1907 in Mallawi (Egypt). As the national champion in gymnastics and athletics (high-jump and pole-vault), he was considered a sportsman. He was also considered a sports leader because he established the Egyptian Gymnastics Federation in 1936, restructured the Egyptian Swimming Federation in 1939, was president of the Egyptian Volleyball Federation in 1946, and, in the same year, was elected Secretary General of the Egyptian National Olympic Committee. Besides these important services to Egyptian sport, Touny played an important role in the establishment of various regional games: he was the director of the first Mediterranean Games in 1951 and president of the Executive Board of the Arab Games in 1965. Thanks to his initiative, the idea of the Arab Games was revived in the early 1950s. He convinced the authorities to organize the first Arab Games in 1953. In 1960, Touny established an Olympic Museum in Cairo. In the same year he was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee, a position he held until 1997. Before he passed away in 1997 he was awarded the distinguished Olympic Order. Touny’s legacy is still present at the Olympic Museum in Egypt.

Egypt was the first Arab country to participate in the Olympic Games. At that time, the Egyptian Olympic tradition was rooted in combat sports. Ali Mahmoud Hassan (wrestling, Egypt) comes from that tradition. He won the gold medal in the wrestling competition (Greco-Roman style, bantamweight 57kg) in the first Arab Games in 1953. Before the Arab Games, he participated successfully in the Olympic Games in London 1948, where he won a silver medal.



Ali Mahmoud Hassan © EOC

IOC-member Ahmed El Demerdash Touny in 1971 © IOC




BOUCHAIB EL-MAACHI The International Association of Athletics Federations started to officially recognize the 100 metres records in 1912. In the 1960s the record was reaching under ten seconds for the first time. Meanwhile, the fastest Arab man, Bouchaib El-Maachi (athletics, Morocco), was unbeatable in the Arab Games. In Casablanca in 1961, he won the 100 and 200 metres competitions. His performance was so outstanding (100m at 10.2s and 200m at 21.2s) that he was honoured with the title “star of the games”.

The Egyptian Tennis Federation was established in 1920. But before its establishment, Egypt already had a tennis tournament, the Cairo Challenger was held for the first time in 1907. El Motaz Sonbol (tennis, Egypt) is one of the earliest Egyptian tennis players. At the Arab Games, he managed to win gold medals in 1961 and 1965. At the Games, many sport rivalries emerged. His memories about that time are still fresh: “My first participation at the Arab Games was in Morocco. At that time I was so excited! If you asked me about the name of athletes, I could tell you them all. The Lebanon athletes were the best players at that time, like Kareem Fawaz and Edward Sumoel. The Moroccan athletes were good as well, but later they improved a lot and reached a higher international level.”

El Motaz Sonbol at the Arab Games 1961 © EOC

Gold medal from the Arab Games 1961 © EOC



EMMANUEL BABA DAWUD To be a legend as a player and a coach: who wouldn’t want this honour? Emmanuel Baba Dawud (football, Iraq) achieved just that. As a player, he was well-known for his outright skills. He scored the first international goal for Iraq at the Arab Games in 1957 in the match against Morocco (3-3). It was a tragic irony that it was also at the Arab Games (1965) where he suffered a serious injury that ended his international career as a player. In the literal Arabic meaning of “Ammo” – an endearing term children use for a senior person – coach Dawud led, among other achievements, Iraq’s national football team to two Olympic Games participations (1984 and 1988), three Gulf Cup titles (1979, 1984 and 1988), one Asian Games title (1982) and one Arab Nations title (1988). Throughout his life, he refused to leave Iraq despite all the turmoil in the country and despite his wife and children departing to the USA. He passed away in 2009 and, as he had requested, was buried in a coffin draped with the Iraqi national flag near the national football stadium in Baghdad.

1st Arab Games overview (1953) City-Country

Alexandria, Egypt


July 26th to August 10th 1953 (16 days)


Venues/Facilities/ Cities Athletes Countries

Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Fencing, Football, Gymnastics, Shooting, Swimming, Weightlifting and Wrestling (10 sports) Athletics (Alexandria Stadium); Gymnastics (Small Hall); Swimming (Alexandria SC Swimming Pool); Wrestling (Tram SC); Fencing (Alexandria Fencing Club) Approximately 455 athletes (male) Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine and Syria (9 countries)

Medal table (1953) Country Egypt Lebanon Palestine Syria Iraq Indonesia Jordan Libya Kuwait

Gold 75 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Silver 36 16 5 15 5 2 0 0 0

Bronze 25 15 6 16 6 0 2 1 0

Total 136 34 12 31 11 2 2 1 0

2nd Arab Games overview (1957) City-Country Dates Sports Venues/Facilities/ Cities Athletes Countries

Ammo Baba in 2002 in Baghdad © Karim Jaafar


Beirut, Lebanon October 12th to 27th 1957 (16 days) Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Fencing, Football, Gymnastics, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling (12 sports) Cité Sportive Camille Chamoun Approximately 790 athletes (men) Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia (9 countries)

21 4th Arab Games overview (1965)

Medal table (1957) Country Lebanon

Gold 29

Silver 38

Bronze 19

Total 86
















City-Country Dates Sports

Cairo, United Arab Republic September 2nd to 11th 1965 (10 days) Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Shooting, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weightlifting and Wrestling (14 sports)











Venues/Facilities/ Cities








1500 athletes (men)






3rd Arab Games overview (1961) City-Country Dates

Sports Venues/Facilities/ Cities Athletes

Casablanca, Morocco August 24th to September 8th 1961 (16 days) Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Swimming, Tennis, Water Polo, Weightlifting and Wrestling (12 sports) Casablanca, Rabat

Approximately 1127 athletes (men) Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Countries Republic 1, Palestine and Sudan (10 countries) 1   Egypt and Syria were united under the same flag (1958-1961). Medal table (1961) Country United Arab Republic Morocco Lebanon Libya Palestine Sudan Jordan

Gold 53 23 7 2 1 0 0

Silver 38 20 19 4 0 1 1

Bronze 18 30 17 6 7 3 2

Total 109 73 43 12 8 4 3

Aden 1, Algeria, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lahej 1, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Countries Oman, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Republic 2 (Egypt) and Yemen (16 countries) 1  Both were British protectorates, which later became part of South Yemen. 2

  Egypt continued as the “United Arab Republic” until 1971.

Medal table (1965) Country United Arab Republic Iraq Morocco Lebanon Sudan Syria Libya Algeria Palestine Indonesia Jordan

Gold 71 10 9 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0

Silver 38 21 2 10 6 7 6 3 1 1 0

Bronze 31 11 2 16 3 19 8 2 2 2 3

Total 140 42 13 28 10 27 14 5 3 3 3



THE UNIQUE GAMES 1965 TO 1985: THE GAP NEW LEADERSHIP Eleven years passed before the next Arab Games took place in Damascus, Syria 1976. After that there was another gap until another edition followed in Rabat, Morocco 1985. In the period between 1965 and 1985, the Arab world was shaken by conflicts and wars. These conflicts and wars influenced not only the sport but also the political landscape. In the 1970s the Arab world saw the end of Nasser’s regime. At the same time, Egypt withdrew the Pan-Arab ideal and, especially after the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973, it followed its own course. In consequence, Egypt was suspended from the Arab League from 1979 until 1989 and the League’s headquarters moved from Cairo to Tunis, Tunisia. The leadership in the Arab world had shifted. The rise of the oil states combined with the independence of the Gulf countries caused a shift in power and influenced the whole region. The new-found wealth transformed the outlook of those countries. They were able to invest in and build a new infrastructure with new schools, hospitals etc. The Arab Gulf countries’ influence in the


international oil arena gave them great significance in the Middle East but also in the rest of the world.

THE BIRTH OF THE ARAB SPORT CONFEDERATION Whilst the political and economic situation changed, the cultural bases remained in the old centres of Cairo and Damascus. Tripoli, Libya was a candidate for hosting the Arab Games in 1969 but had to withdraw for political reasons as did Khartoum, Sudan in 1971. Damascus, Syria volunteered to organize the Games in 1974 but they were postponed because of the war in 1973. In 1976, two years later than intended, the Games finally took place. At the event, the leaders of the Arab sport world met and decided to create an association to give more visibility and opportunities to Arab countries. In May 1977, a congress was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to establish the Arab Sports Confederation. Led by HRH Prince Faisal Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz, the Confederation was a union of the National Olympic Committees from around the Arab world. This development was typical for the period as it illustrated the change of leadership in Arab sports.

The Arab Sport Confederation started to promote itself as a sports organization, which was neither a political nor a religious institution. It was the first of many efforts to detach the Arab Games from political matters and associate them with the Arab Olympic National Committees. However, this was not an easy task. The Council of Arab Ministers for Youth & Sport, a designated department of the Arab League, and the Arab Sports Confederation shared the organization of the Arab Games. The efforts to run the Games far from political issues were compromised when in the beginning of the 1980s, another war took place in the region.


Syrian stamp on the occasion of the Arab Games 1976 © QOSM

Aerial view of Damascus in the 1970s © Getty Images

Invitation with the logo of the Arab Sports Confederation © IOC-Archives

A reading at a coffeehouse in Damascus © Getty Images

Cover with three stamps from Lybia commemorating the Arab Games 1976, © QOSM




24 THE WINNER On April 7, 1978 the Arab Sports Confederation announced the winner of the Confederation logo design competition. Ameen Shamoet was the victor. He was a Palestinian teacher from the Ministry of Education in Kuwait and also the art director of the Arab News Magazine (Anbaa Alarab). His designs were so good that he won both first and second place. The design of the logo was powerfully simple, combining the Arab world map together with the Olympic rings.



Announcement of the winner Ameen Shamoet in the journal Sport Features from the Kuwait Olympic Committee in 1978 © IOC-Archives

AN IMPORTANT STEP In the 1970s, Juan Antonio Samaranch initiated a study of the rules for regional games. At that time, he was vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As a result, the revised text was presented to the IOC-Executive Board meeting in Rome May 14, 1975, and included more specific rules and clarity facilitating the organisation of future events. One of the important new requirements was paragraph number three: “To organize Regional Games the National Olympic Committees interested must create a regional federation or organization.” This was an important step for the future organisation of the Arab Games under the leadership of the Arab Sport Confederation.

New rules for regional games mentioned in the meeting minutes of the IOC © IOC-Archives


Many Arab people are engaged in developing sport through the Arab youth. One of the pioneers, who showed selfless commitment to this cause, was Prince Faisal Fahd Abdul-Aziz. Born in 1945, in Saudi Arabia, he started his sport career in 1974 when he became president of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee. In 1975 he was chosen to be president of the Saudi Football Federation. After that, leading the Arab Union of Sport Games, now called the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees, he strongly supported the Arab Games. Among other things, he donated USD 160,000 to the Union and LE 300,000 to the Arab Disabled Federation. He passed away during the Arab Games 1999, which were then almost cancelled. The authorities flew on a private plane to Saudi Arabia to pay their last respects. The newspaper headlines announced “Gone is the Prince of Arab Youth”

Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz addressing the Arab Culture Ministers’ Conference in 1997 © AFP

25 AN IMPORTANT STEP Sudan first participated in the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960. Since then, 72 athletes have represented the country in the Games. One of these athletes is Omer Khalifa (athletics, Sudan). He participated in the 800 metres and 1500 metres competitions at the Los Angeles 1984 Games and the 1,500 metres race in Seoul 1988, where he had the honour of being his country’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremonies. At the Arab Games, he left his mark with two gold medals in 1976 (800m and 1500m races) and one gold medal in the 1985 Games (800m race).

5th Arab Games overview (1976) City-Country Dates


Venues/Facilities/ Cities Athletes

Damascus, Syria September 6th to 21th 1976 (16 days) Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Judo, Karate, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Water polo, Weightlifting and Wrestling (18 sports) Damascus

Approximately 2500 athletes (men) Bahrain , Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, South Countries Yemen 1, Sudan, Syria and United Arab Emirates (11 countries) 1   People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (1967-1990).

Medal table (1976) Country Syria Morocco Sudan Kuwait Saudi Arabia Jordan Bahrain South Yemen

Gold 61 38 10 4 3 2 1 0

Silver 42 17 9 6 4 5 5 0

Bronze 19 15 8 10 19 7 7 1

Total 122 70 27 20 26 14 13 1

Omer Khalifa at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games © IOC



NEW ORDER, OLD CHALLENGES 1985 TO 1999: THE REVIVAL OF THE ARAB GAMES PARTIAL RECOGNITION The Arab Games followed the trends to have more visibility and to cover the interests of the Arab National Olympic Committees. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had set new rules for organizing regional games and the Arab Sport Confederation governing the Arab Games approved this. Additionally, the IOC started to recognize the existence of the Games more openly and announced the next edition of the Arab Games in its magazine. Another element to this partial recognition by the IOC was the inclusion of female athletes in the competition. Five hundred women took part and marked a milestone in the history of the Arab Games. However, this new momentum was short-lived. The political challenges persisted. Regional organizations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab Maghreb Union rather than Pan-Arab associations had taken over political responsibilities and therefore started to change the Arab world. More and more, the independent Arab countries were defending their own policies and interests rather than panArab ideals. As a result of this


new political landscape, conflicts emerged in the Gulf region.

THE MAGHREB SUCCESS In 1983, Morocco organized the Mediterranean Games with a short preparation time of only 18 months. This was considered a triumph in terms of management and organizational skills. During those Games the Moroccan authorities agreed to organize the 6th Arab Games, which took place in 1985 in different cities: Rabat, Casablanca, Mohamedia and Settat. It is worth mentioning that this was the first time that Qatar participated in the Games. At a meeting in Algeria 1985, the Council of Arab Ministers of Youth and Sports stressed the importance of organizing the Games regularly every four years. The Council set up a schedule to hold the Games in Iraq 1989, Jordan 1993 and Tunisia 1997. However, the Gulf conflicts forced another change of plan.

EGYPT IS BACK The Arab Games returned to Syria in 1992 and cities like Latakia, Aleppo and Hama supported Damascus in its organization. Egypt was back in the Games after the sanctions

against her had been lifted in 1987. In 1989 Egypt was readmitted into the Arab League. A year later, the League’s headquarters moved back to Cairo. The 8th edition of the Arab Games was supposed to take place in Beirut in 1996. But because armed conflicts flared up in the same year, the Games had to be postponed to the following year, 1997. The organizers of the Arab Games in Beirut intended to demonstrate that the country had returned to normality, thus re-establishing the prestige of the country among the Arab countries and foreign investors. The CitÊ Sportive was renewed as well as the hope for better times.


Invitation to the Arab Games in Beirut 1997 addressed to the Egyptian Olympic Committee © EOC

Over the rooftops of Rabat 1985 © Getty Images

First day cover from the Arab Games in Morocco in 1985 © QOSM

Plaque from the Arab Games 1992 © EOC

Rebuilding Beirut 1997 © Getty Images





DOPING The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport is known as “doping”. In Beirut 1997, doping was reported for the first time at the Arab Games. There were almost daily reports of athletes being tested positive during doping control. A total of 12 athletes were caught.

OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS The Arab Games became the stage for Arab Olympians, who had crowned their careers with Olympic gold medals. In Rabat 1985, the Moroccans Said Aouita and Nawal El Moutawakel competed on the Arab Games track. The Algerian Hassiba Boulmerka competed in 1992. In the same year Ghada Shouaa filled her fellow citizens with pride. Unsurprisingly, they all won their respective events.

THE IOC’S SUPPORTING PRESENCE The International Olympic Committee’s president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, signalled changing times for the Arab Games. He attended the opening ceremony of the 1997 Beirut Games. In the following press conference he expressed his amazement at the opening ceremony, in which children performed an emotional folk show. Furthermore, he was impressed with the short time it took to reconstruct Beirut. Not shying away from political issues he stated that “it is very easy to say that sport has nothing to do with politics, but you can find politics everywhere. This problem is solved bit by bit, step by step, I am sure it will be solved.”

IOC-President Samaranch at the press conference in Beirut in 1997 © EOC

With its first participation in 1985, Qatar began a Golden Era in athletics that lasted until the 1990s. In this most successful period, the spectators witnessed the performances of Qataris such as Faraj Marzouk, Ibrahim Ismail, Mohamed Sulaiman and Talal Mansour.


29 PRINCESS HAYA BINT AL HUSSEIN’S PASSION FOR HORSES Passion and sport are interconnected. Usually athletes love their sport and live their lives for it, even after retirement. Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein (Equestrian, Jordan) is one of those passionate people. At the 1992 Arab Games, she won the individual bronze medal in show-jumping. After that, she continued improving until she reached the Olympic level. In the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games she competed in the show jumping competition and also had the honour of being her country’s flag bearer in the Opening Ceremony. In 2002 she competed at the World Equestrian Games organized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). In 2007, after her retirement from competition, she was elected as a Member of the International Olympic Committee. She also became the youngest President of the FEI in 2006 and, thanks to her dedication to equestrian sports, was re-elected in 2010.

Princess Haya bint Al Hussein at the IOC-Congress in 2009 © IOC


HOUSNI BENSLIMANE As in almost all cultures, women in Arab countries were prevented from participating in sports for many years. The ice broke in 1985 at the Arab Games in Rabat: The Moroccan General Housni Benslimane, the coordinator of the Games, facilitated breaking stereotypes about women and sport. For this initiative, among others, he was distinguished with the Olympic Order in 1989. As president of the Moroccan Olympic Committee, Benslimane supports the International Olympic Committee (IOC) initiatives regarding women and sports. For instance, Morocco hosted the annual meeting of the IOC Women and Sport working group in 1997, in which he reiterated the importance of sport as a factor for social emancipation and well-being for women. Further, he pointed out the Moroccan desire to continue expanding its promotion of women athletes, leaders and administrators in the sports movement.

Housni Benslimane (right) talking with the Moroccan football coach in 2000 © Getty Images



NAWAL EL MOUTAWAKEL Choosing a name for a baby is always an important moment for parents. But girls born on August 8 in Morocco have only one choice: Nawal. Nawal El Moutawakel (athletics, Morocco) was the first Arab woman to win an Olympic medal and the first Moroccan of either gender to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games. She achieved this at the Los Angeles 1984 Games in the 400m hurdles event, prompting the King of Morocco to declare that all girls born on the date of her victory were to be named in her honour. A year later, El Moutawakel participated in the Arab Games in Rabat winning the 100m, 200m and 400m sprint and 400m hurdles events.


SAID AOUITA Usually middle-distance runners do not compete with long-distance runners and vice-versa. Usually. But Said Aouita (athletics, Morocco) was different. Besides his spectacular sport career, he was versatile, not to say audacious. At the Los Angeles 1984 Games, he won the gold medal in the 5000m event. In Seoul 1988, he attempted to run both the 800m and 1500m races. In the 800m competition, he won the bronze medal despite an injury that forced him later to withdraw from the 1500m race. Nonetheless, he left his mark in Games history being the only man to win medals in both the 800m and 5000m races. In the Arab Games, he participated in 1985 winning the gold medal in the 1500m race.


HASSIBA BOULMERKA Any athlete in the world knows the sacrifice needed to achieve a gold medal. At the moment of victory some of them exalt their family, coach, his/ her effort, etc. For Hassiba Boulmerka (athletics, Algeria) it was her country. Despite being criticised by some for showing her bare legs in the World Athletics Championships in 1991, she competed in the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. In a spectacular race she proved to be the deserving champion and won the 1500m event. Right after crossing the finish line, she could not hold her emotions any longer and screamed: “Algeria! Algeria!” In 1992 Hassiba also competed in the Arab Games, in which she was victorious in the 1500m event.

Nawal El Moutawakel at a sport conference in Geneva 2011 © IOC Said Aouita at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games © IOC


Hassiba Boulmerka celebrating her victory at the Barcelona 1992 Games © IOC




Faraj Marzouk © QOC

In the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games , Faraj Marzouk (athletics, Qatar) made history by being part of his country’s first delegation to the Games. He also left his mark on Qatar’s sporting history in the Arab Games in Rabat 1985, where he won the gold medal in the 100m race. It was Qatar’s first gold in a multi-sport competition. He remembers the event in the following way: “These Arab Games are important because I won the first Arab medal for Qatar. At that time I could not explain my feelings, especially when I was on the podium; no one can feel what I felt, only people who stand on the podium… Also, especially when the Qatari anthem was played, I was about to cry; it is at such moments that I allowed myself to be proud.” NEW ORDER, OLD CHALLENGES



Many names are linked with Qatar’s Olympic participation, but the glory of Olympic medals so far belongs only to two athletes; Mohamed Sulaiman (athletics, Qatar) is one of them. Crowning his list of triumphs is the Olympic bronze medal from Barcelona, 1992, which stands at the top above his other outstanding achievements in the Asian Games in 1990, 1994 and 1998 amongst other competitions. In Barcelona, Sulaiman ran the 1500m in 3:40.69 and crossed the finish line just after Moroccan Rachid El-Basir (silver) and the Spaniard Fermín Cacho (gold). His performance is unforgettable for him as well as all of Qatar’s sports enthusiasts: the bronze medal was the first Olympic medal for Qatar. Sulaiman competed in the Damascus 1992 Arab Games, in which he won gold in the 1500m and 5000m race.

Mohamed Sulaiman crossing the finish line at the Barcelona 1992 Games © IOC




The 200m and 400m events require high endurance capacity to maintain speed during the whole lap and balance control in the curves. Ibrahim Ismail Muftah (athletics, Qatar) had both skills. A specialist in those events, he appeared in many competitions, including three editions of the Olympic Games. With regards to the Arab Games, he can be considered the golden man of the 1990s. He participated in all the Arab Games of that period and celebrated many victories: Damascus, 1992, Beirut, 1997 and Amman, 1999. He talks about the level of competition at that time: “I participated in Syria, 1992. At that time I was running the 400m in 47 seconds, but in Syria I registered a new record for Qatar; it was 44.96 seconds. Then after that I went to Lebanon. In Lebanon, I competed in the 400m and 200m races as well as in the 4 x 400m relay. You can say [the level of competition] at the Arab Games is sometimes high and other times it is not.”

Torchbearer Talal Mansour at the Asian Games 2006 © Getty Images


TALAL MANSOUR During his active career as an athlete, newspapers called him “The Ace”, and not without reason. Talal Mansour (athletics, Qatar) was an excellent sprinter. He won several gold medals in 100m races, including the Asian Games in Seoul 1986, in Beijing 1990, and Hiroshima 1994. In the Arab Games, he competed in Damascus 1992, winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m events. On March 6, 1993 at the BW-Bank meeting in Karlsruhe (Germany) he established the Asian record in the 60m race (6.51s). In the same year, competing against some of

the world’s very best sprinters, he won the bronze medal in the 60m race at the 4th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics in Toronto. His memories about that period are still fresh: “I am the kind of athlete who gets supernatural power when I reach 60m. So I had to compete in the 60m race at the World Championships because I had huge chances of winning those competitions. That was the greatest achievement for me because the world champions could beat me in the 100 metres, but I could beat them in the 60m races. So, thanks to God, it is the best thing that happened to me and I am proud of it.”

Ibrahim Ismail Muftah winning the 200m at the Arab Games 1997 © AFP



GHADA SHOUAA If competing in one athletics event is difficult, can you imagine competing in seven? Ghada Shouaa (athletics, Syria) was a heptahlete, which means in a period of two days she competed in the following events: 100m hurdles, high-jump, shot put, 200m, long-jump, javelin throw and 800m. But Ghada was more: she is the first and only Syrian Olympic gold medalist. She won the medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996 after scoring a total of 6780 points. She is the Asian record holder in the heptathlon. She participated in two Arab Games; in Damascus, 1992, she won gold medals in long jump, javelin throw and heptathlon and in Amman 1999 won gold medals in high jump and javelin throw.

6th Arab Games overview (1985) City-Country Dates

Rabat, Morocco August 2nd to 16th 1985 (15 days) Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Sports (men) Handball, Judo, Sailing, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weightlifting and Wrestling (18 sports) Athletics, Basketball, Gymnastics, Sports (women) Handball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis and Volleyball (8 sports) Venues/Facilities/ Rabat, Casablanca, Mohammedia and Cities Settat Approximately 2700 men and 500 Athletes women Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, North Yemen 1, Oman, Palestine, Countries Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Yemen, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Sudan (21 countries) 1   Yemen Arab Republic (1962–1990).

Medal table (1985)

Ghada Shouaa celebrating her Olympic victory in 1996 © Getty Images


Nation Morocco Tunisia Iraq Algeria Syria Libya Bahrain Lebanon Qatar Saudi Arabia Sudan South Yemen Jordan Kuwait Somalia Djibouti Palestine North Yemen

Gold 57 40 20 15 9 6 4 2 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0

Silver 38 24 20 40 14 5 1 2 1 0 1 0 0 3 4 1 1 0

Bronze 32 26 16 42 29 1 0 3 2 8 0 1 0 16 1 0 0 1

Total 127 90 56 97 52 12 5 7 5 9 2 2 1 19 5 1 1 1

35 7th Arab Games overview (1992) City-Country Dates

Sports (men)

Sport (women) Venues/Facilities/ Cities Athletes


8th Arab Games overview (1997)

Damascus, Syria September 4th to 18th 1992 (15 days) Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Karate, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling (14 sports) Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Equestrian, Handball, Karate and Volleyball (7 Sports) Damascus, Latakia, Aleppo and Hama Approximately 2500 (men/women) Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Djibouti and Yemen (18 countries)

Sports (men)

Sports (women) Venues/Facilities/ Cities Athletes


Medal table (1992) Country Syria Egypt Algeria Morocco Kuwait Qatar Saudi Arabia Tunisia Jordan United Arab Emirates Palestine Lebanon Bahrain Yemen Oman Sudan

City-Country Dates

Gold 48 36 27 15 8 8 5 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0

Silver 30 30 21 7 6 3 12 22 6 3 2 1 0 2 0 0

Bronze 36 30 24 6 16 4 5 26 6 1 6 10 1 0 2 1

Total 114 96 72 28 30 15 22 51 13 5 9 12 2 2 2 1

Beirut, Lebanon July 12th to 27th 1997 (15 days) Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Karate, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling (20 sports) Athletics, Basketball, Fencing, Judo, Karate, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis and Volleyball (10 sports) Sports City Complex Approximately 1600 men and 500 women Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (19 countries)

Medal table (1997) Nation Egypt Algeria Morocco Syria Tunisia Qatar Lebanon Jordan Saudi Arabia Kuwait Oman Sudan Libya United Arab Emirates Yemen Palestine Bahrain

Gold 97 42 19 16 9 9 7 7 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Silver 56 43 14 29 13 5 16 10 10 13 1 1 1 1 1 0 0

Bronze 40 44 17 37 25 3 50 21 20 20 1 2 1 1 0 4 1

Total 193 129 50 82 47 17 73 38 31 34 3 3 2 2 1 4 1



SPORT MEGAEVENTS 1999 TO 2011: INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION OF THE ARAB GAMES ARAB GAMES TURNED MEGA-EVENTS The last three editions of the Arab Games can be considered sport mega-events, not only due to the infrastructure and organization involved but also the increasing number of participating delegations and athletes. Whilst previous Arab Games already incorporated ‘Olympic’ elements such as oaths, anthems and speeches into the Opening Ceremony, host countries began making great efforts to create outstanding artistic and cultural events following the formula of sport mega-events. The major competitions were widely broadcast. Merchandising material was offered to spectators and mascots were introduced. Further, the Games became a welcome opportunity for countries to showcase their hosting skills thereby encouraging future sport bidding projects.

THE HUSSEIN GAMES Amman was scheduled to host the Arab Games in 2001. However, in 1999, Jordan’s new King Abdallah planned to organize a multi-sport event in memory of his father, King Hussein Bin Talal, unofficially


named “The Hussein Games” or “Al Hussein Tournament”. Given the large scale of organization, the fact that all Arab countries were invited to participate, and the possible coincidence with the Mediterranean Games, the organizers decided to hold the Hussein Games as the Arab Games. The event was an attempt to re-establish shaken relations after the Gulf conflicts. This intention had its side effects. Kuwait withdrew its athletes and only a diplomatic representation was sent to the Opening Ceremony. Until then it had been the only country to participate in all the previous editions. Despite these political issues, the Games showed pioneering spirit. In Amman 1999, inclusion through sport was realized for the first time in the history of the Arab Games. After the regular competitions, the Arab Para Games took place for the first time. These Games included a range of events for elite athletes with physical and learning disabilities.

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION In 1999 the Arab Sports Confederation was withdrawn as the organizing body of the Games. From 1999 to 2003 the Council of

Arab Ministers for Youth and Sport took over the leadership of the Arab Games movement. In 2003 the Council formed a committee to give new guidance to the Arab Games based on the Olympic Charter. Under this new leadership, the Arab Games 2003 had to be delayed for one year because of an earthquake in the host country, Algeria. Despite this, the 10th Arab Games in Algiers in 2004 were a huge success. For the first time, all members of the Arab League participated, with record breaking numbers of athletes competing. In addition, the Arab Para Games were held in parallel with the Arab Games, giving greater visibility to the disability events. Three years after this edition, on March 12, 2007 the Council of Arab Ministers for Youth and Sport passed the baton. The Games were back under the auspices of the Arab Sports Confederation, which was now also called the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees. The consequences were easy to recognize. At the opening ceremony of the Arab Games in Cairo 2007, Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, was present as a symbol of IOC recognition of the Games.


After 42 years, the Games had returned to their birthplace. Cairo had won the right to host the 11th edition of the Arab Games. The Opening Ceremony was resonant as well as the Games, and the Arab Para Games continued to be held in parallel setting a new record in the number of participants. The Arab Games reached the status of a sport mega-event. Similar to the Arab Games in Cairo, the newest edition is bound to break records. Doha will be the first country in the Gulf region to host the Arab Games when the 12th edition takes place in 2011. The legacy of the Games will go much further than just the sum of the investment and the organizational experience. With the slogan “Doha, where everything comes together”, the country wishes to celebrate the Arab Games with the biggest attendance ever seen.

Pennant from the Arab Games 2004 © EOC

Daily life in Amman © Getty Images

Invitation from the Arab Games 1999 © EOC

Pharaoh cat used as an additional gift to the winners of each competition in 2007 © EOC



View over the rooftops of Cairo Š National Geographic Stock






MASCOTS Mascots always grab the attention of spectators during the Games and were first introduced to the Arab Games in 1985. In Amman 1999, the mascot appeared practicing the sports of the Games. In 2004, the bird Qamari was selected as a mascot. The Pharaoh Cat was the sensation of the 2007 Games. Just like in Amman 1999, the cat could be seen practicing all sports. In addition to the gold medal, winners received a golden replica of the Pharaoh Cat. Mascot from 2007 practicing gymnastics © EOC



The Arab world mourned when Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Bin AbdulAziz, the president of the Arab Union of Sports Games, suffered a heart attack and died on 2 August 1999 during the Arab Games. The event was almost suspended. However, the Saudi Arabians insisted that the tournament should go on. The Games continued with the flags at half-mast for three days, but all the non-sport festivities were cancelled including the closing ceremony. In honour of Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Bin Abdul-Aziz, a short football tournament was held and named the “Amir Faisal Cup”.

At the Arab Games 2004, Qatar received the so-called “Gold Administrative Medal”, as the country encouraged all delegations to participate and provided support for organizational, administrative and technical matters.

Logo of the Arab Games 2004 © EOC


Mascot from 1999 practicing basketball © EOC

41 WHO WON? Traditionally, at the end of the Arab Games one country is declared the winner: usually the country at the top of the medals table. In 2004, the Arab Para Games were held in parallel with the Arab Games. Before the start of the Games, it was agreed that both events would have their own medal count. Curiously, at the Closing Ceremony, when the supposed winner was to be declared, the debate as to whether to combine the two medals tables was reopened. If the medal count was to include the Arab Para Games medals, Algeria would be the winner. Otherwise, Egypt would win. In the end, neither Egypt nor Algeria was declared the winner. In the official records, however, the medals tables were separated.



Who won? © Al Ahram


In sports, many athletes have rituals, lucky charms and lucky numbers to support their performance. The royal family of Jordan knows this all too well. King Hussein bin Talal was a racing-car driver and all his cars carried his lucky number: 99. After 46 years of leading his country, he passed away on February 7, 1999. His eldest son King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein decided to honour his father with sports competitions. The Games were later renamed the 1999 Amman Arab Games. But it was not only the country’s leadership that King Hussein passed on to King Abdullah, he also passed on his lucky number. At all football matches at the Games in 1999, King Abdullah and his son could be seen wearing the Jordan national football team jersey with the number 99 on it. The number, believe it or not, brought the luck they all hoped for. After a 4-4 draw in regular time in the football final against Iraq, the Jordan football national team won 3-1 on penalty kicks.

Since 2004 the Arab Games have included cultural and scientific activities. Art and drawing contests have been held during the Games as well as exhibitions, scientific lectures and seminars on many different subjects. In Cairo 2007 the organizers decided to introduce a further innovation: camel racing was part of the men’s program for the Games.

Camel race at the Arab Games 2007 © EOC

King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein wearing his legendary shirt © Getty Images


42 THE GOLDEN POT OF RANIA ELWANI No one could imagine what Rania Elwani (swimming, Egypt) was able to do when she jumped into the water to compete at the Arab Games. She competed in only two editions of the Arab Games, but this was enough for her to win 21 gold medals. This impressive feat earned her the title of “Star of the Games”. She explained what happened in those Games: “In reality I was very lucky because I was able to do all swimming styles, except one. Also, because there were huge differences between me and the other swimmers: I could attend three or four competitions in the same day as a kind of training and still manage to win those events. I remember there were training sessions for ladies and others for men. So, during the free time for women, I attended the men’s sessions. They were harder but it gave me self confidence.”

Rania Elwani at the IOC-Congress in 2007 © IOC


AHMED IBRAHIM WARSAMA Unlike marathon races, in which competitors take to the streets, spectators can follow the long distance track events in the stadium. Towards the end, the tension rises as everybody waits for the bell to announce the last lap and the final battle for victory. Ahmed Ibrahim Warsama (athletics, Qatar) heard many bells announcing his last lap. At the Beirut 1997 Arab Games, he won a gold medal in the 5000m and in Amman 1999, the 10000m. He talks about his favourite Games: Ahmed Ibrahim Warsama at the Bangkok 1998 Asian Games © QAAF


“The Arab Games which I am most proud of, were the ones in Lebanon. Firstly, [because] they took place at the right time. It was in August which was the peak of the season. The athletes, who came from Saudi [Arabia], Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco had a good level. This made for a competitive race. And I won first place, the gold medal. They were the best Arab Games for me.”



The first Arab Para Games were held at the Arab Games in Amman 1999. Since then, athletes from all over the Arab world have been reaching for glory. Ahmed Goumaa Mohamed (power lifting, Egypt) has risen to the highest levels. In addition to his gold medal (56kg category) in the Arab Games in Amman 1999, Ahmed has been collecting gold medals at world and Olympic competitions. In his collection are five Paralympic medals: silver in the 51kg category at the Paralympics in Seoul 1988, gold in the 52kg category at the Paralympics in Barcelona 1992, gold in the 56kg category at the Paralympic Games in Atlanta 1996, gold in the 56kg category at the Paralympic Games in Sydney 2000 and silver in the 56kg category in Athens 2004.

Football is by far the most awaited and important sports competition at the Arab Games. Large crowds flock to the stadiums to cheer for their countries. With this strong focus on football, the host country always feels an obligation to win the tournament. At the Arab Games in 1999, the Jordan Football Team felt this pressure. With the Jordanian King Abdullah in the stands the players managed to handle the pressure and win the tournament. The campaign started with two victories against Qatar (3-0) and Palestine (2-0) in the first stage. In the second stage, the team suffered one defeat against Lebanon (1-3) and two victories against Iraq (2-1) and Oman (2-0). With those results, Jordan qualified for the semi-finals against Palestine. The team overpowered their opponents with a 4-1 score. The final against Iraq was very dramatic; after leading the match 4-0, Jordan’s performance slacked off and Iraq caught up to a 4-4 draw in regular time. A dramatic penalty shoot-out saw Jordan win 3-1.



Ahmed Goumaa in action

The players of Jordan celebrating their victory in 1999 Š AFP



SHEIKH AHMAD MOHAMMAD HASHER AL MAKTOUM Many people first practice one sport before switching to another and maybe even to another one after that. This phenomenon is especially noticeable among children. There are of course exceptions, such as Sheikh Ahmad Mohammad Hasher Al Maktoum (shooting, United Arab Emirates), who made the change at an adult age. Despite being a squash national champion, Sheik Ahmad felt that he could still achieve something more in sport. At the age of 34, he switched to shooting. This change was crucial for his sports accomplishments and for his country. In the Athens 2004 Olympic Games he won a gold medal in the double trap event. It was the first and, so far, only Olympic gold medal for the United Arab Emirates. Prior to that Sheikh Ahmad had participated in the Arab Games 1999, where he won a gold medal in the shooting event


TODD MATTHEWS JOUDA In recent years, sports fans have become used to an increasing number of athletes changing their nationalities. Perhaps this is a reflection of a globalized world, in which borders between nations have become less important than in the past. In the case of Todd Matthews Jouda (athletics, Sudan) he changed his citizenship from the United States of America to Sudan on September 18, 2003. This allowed him to compete for Sudan at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, in which he was also the country’s flag bearer in the Opening Ceremonies. In the same year, he competed in the Arab Games, in which he won a gold medal in the 110 m hurdles race.

Sheikh Ahmad Al Maktoum kissing his rifle celebrating his Olympic victory in 2004 © Getty Images


Todd Matthews Jouda at the Athens 2004 Olympics © IOC



Cairo 2007: The Arab Games came back to its birth place after a long period of time. Qatar’s Mahbubeh Akhlaghi (shooting) competed in the 50m rifle 3 position event. In an exciting competition with a lot of back and forth between the contenders, the referees decided to hold a final between Mahbubeh and another athlete to settle who would receive the gold medal. With a lot of precision, Mahbubeh won the gold medal, writing her name in Qatar’s sporting history: the first woman to win a gold medal. She still feels that moment, as she describes: “In the final, I received 12 points, which drew me with my fellow competitor. So after this happened, we had to shoot one more time to see who would take first place. At that time I was so scared and I could feel my heart beating on my arm. I shot and right afterwards I turned my face to see the public. I saw that the other girl looked upset, so I believed she did not do well. The referee went to see the target and after that he announced the result by microphone: I won! I was so happy at that moment, I was jumping and crying at the same time. It is something else when you score for your country and get a gold medal.”

Mahbubeh Akhlaghi celebrating her gold medal at the Arab Games 2007 © Karim Jaafar





QATAR VOLLEYBALL TEAM Volleyball is a popular attraction at the Arab Games. Because of the team spirit and the glory of winning, the volleyball tournament can overwhelm even the most balanced fan. Qatar’s volleyball team travelled to the Arab Games in Cairo 2007 with the difficult mission of bringing back home a medal. The mission became almost impossible when some key players got injured in the middle of the competition. At the group stage Qatar lost against Saudi Arabia, but ranking second in its group, still qualified for the next stage. In a dramatic semi-final, Qatar lost the first two sets against Egypt (2125 and 23-25), before the players had a wonderful comeback and won the match miraculously in 3-2 sets (25-20, 25-20 and 15-11). It was like an early final. After that, Qatar continued its fairy tale dream and realized a splendid victory against Bahrain in the final (25-23, 20-25, 25-21 and 26-24).

The players of Qatar celebrating their victory Š Karim Jaafar


48 9th Arab Games overview (1999) City-Country Dates

Sports (men)

Sports (women)

Venues/Facilities/ Cities Athletes

Amman, Jordan August 15th to 31st 1999 (16 days) Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bodybuilding, Boxing , Bridge, Cycling, Chess, Equestrian, Fencing, Football, Gymnastics, Golf, Handball, Judo, Karate, Kickboxing, Sailing, Shooting, , Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball, Water sports 1, Weightlifting and Wrestling (28 sports) Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bridge, Chess, Equestrian, Fencing, Gymnastics, Golf, Handball, Judo, Karate, Shooting, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball and Water sports (20 sports) Amman, Irbid, Aqaba, Zarqa

Approximately 4500 (men/women) Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Countries Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (21 countries) 1   Water sports include: windsurfing and deep-sea diving.

Medal table (1999) Nation Egypt Tunisia Syria Algeria Morocco Jordon Saudi Arabia Qatar UAE Iraq Lebanon Oman Bahrain Yemen


Gold 106 39 34 33 30 26 15 11 8 8 7 4 1 1

Libya Palestine

0 0

1 1

13 10

14 11






1st Arab Para Games overview (1999) City-Country Dates Sports

Venues/Facilities/ Amman Cities Athletes Approximately 700 (men/women) Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Countries Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (16 countries)

Arab Para Medal table(1999) Nation Qatar

Bronze 81 62 64 31 41 70 18 22 17 32 25 7 4 5

Total 267 141 136 96 113 129 49 44 34 47 41 16 6 6

Gold 3

Silver 7

Bronze 10

Total 20

10th Arab Games overview (2004) City-Country Dates

Silver 80 40 38 32 42 33 16 11 9 7 9 5 1 0

Amman, Jordan September 9th to 20th (11 days) Athletics, Football, Goal Ball, Table Tennis, Weightlifting and Wheelchair Basketball (6 sports - men/women)


Venues/Facilities/ Cities Athletes


Algiers, Algeria September 24th to October 8th 2004 (16 days) Athletics, Basketball, Badminton, Boxing, Chess, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Gymnastics, Judo, Karate, Kickboxing, Tennis, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wrestling (22 sports - men/women) Algiers, Blida, Oran Approximately 3240 (men/women) Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (22 countries)

49 Medal table (2004 - without Arab Para Games) Country Egypt Algeria Tunisia Syria Morocco Saudi Arabia Iraq Jordan Libya United Arab Emirates Kuwait Qatar Lebanon Yemen Sudan Bahrain Palestine Oman

Gold 81 62 46 24 21 16 13 11 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 0 0

Silver 41 69 39 30 38 20 24 19 2 5 6 5 3 1 6 1 1 1

Bronze 48 71 47 36 41 18 34 31 3 10 18 17 5 4 3 3 1 0

Total 170 202 132 90 100 54 71 61 10 19 27 25 11 8 11 6 2 1

11th Arab Games overview ( 2007) City-Country Dates

Cairo, Egypt November 11th to 25th 2007 (15 days) Athletics, Archery, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Bowling, Camel Racing, Chess, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Judo, Karate, Modern Sports (men) Pentathlon, Sailing, Shooting, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weightlifting and Wrestling and (28sports) Athletics, Archery, Basketball, Badminton, Bowling, Chess, Cycling, Fencing, Gymnastics, Modern Pentathlon, Judo, Sports (women) Karate, Sailing, Squash, Shooting, Swimming, Taekwondo, Table Tennis, Tennis and Weightlifting (20 sports) Venues/Facilities/ Cairo, Asyut, Aswan, Port Said, Alexandria, Cities Ismailia, North Sinai Athletes Approximately 3331 men and 967 women


Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (22 countries)

Medal table ( 2007 - Including Arab Para Games) Country Egypt Tunisia Algeria Morocco Syria Qatar Iraq Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Kuwait Sudan Bahrain Jordan Lebanon Libya Oman Yemen Palestine

Gold 175 68 42 22 19 15 10 10 10 9 8 8 7 7 6 5 3 0

Silver 118 38 53 32 26 13 31 22 10 10 9 5 24 7 10 1 5 0

Bronze 106 54 57 39 52 14 44 27 13 23 8 10 38 11 15 2 9 3

Total 399 160 152 93 97 42 85 53 33 42 25 23 69 25 31 8 17 3


50 General Overview Edition





Athletes (approximately)



Alexandria, Egypt




09 10 16 11 21 18 19 21 22 22

12 12 14 18 18 (men), 09 (women) 14 (men), 07 (women) 20 (men), 10 (women) 28 (men), 20 (women) 22 (men and women) 28 (men), 20 (women)

790 1127 1500 2500 2700 (men), 500 (women) 2500 (men and women) 1600 (men), 500 (women) 4500 (men and women) 3240 (men and women) 3331 (men), 967 (women)

2nd 1957 Beirut, Lebanon 3rd 1961 Casablanca, Morocco 4th 1965 Cairo, United Arab Republic 5th 1976 Damascus, Syria 6th 1985 Rabat, Morocco 1 7th 1992 Damascus, Syria 8th 1997 Beirut, Lebanon 9th 1999 Amman, Jordan 2 10th 2004 Algiers, Algeria 3 11th 2007 Cairo, Egypt 3 12th 2011 Doha, Qatar 1 first time women participated  2 without Arab Para Games 


including Arab Para Games

Arab Para Games Edition 1st

Year 1999

Place Amman, Jordan*

Countries 16

Sports 06 (men and women)

Place Rabat, Morocco Damascus, Syria Beirut, Lebanon Amman, Jordan Algiers, Algeria 1 Cairo, Egypt Doha, Qatar

Sports 06 04 10 17 (without Arab Para Games) 20 (without Arab Para Games) 22 (without Arab Para Games)

Athletes (approximately) 700 (men and women)

Qatar’s participation Edition 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 1

Year 1895 1992 1997 1999 2004 2007 2011

Athletes Not found 72 92 196 160 (men and women) 282 (men and women)

  first time women participated

References BELL, D. (2003). Encyclopedia of International Games. North Carolina, USA. EGYPTIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (1953). Official Report of the 1st Arab Games. Egypt. EGYPTIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (1965). Final program of 4th Arab Games: final results. Cairo. EGYPTIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (2000). Egyptian participation records at Arab Games (1953-1999). Cairo.

EGYPTIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (2004). Report of the president of the Egyptian delegation (Algeria 2004). Cairo. EGYPTIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (2007). Arabia Newspaper: Official Journal of 11th Arab Games. Cairo. EGYPTIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (2008). Official Report of the 11th Arab Games. Cairo. Al-Raya newspaper. Sport section. Doha, Qatar. Al-Sharq newspaper. Sport section. Doha, Qatar. Al-Watan newspaper. Sport section. Doha, Qatar.


CREDITS The Arab Games Exhibition showcases for the first time ever the history and tradition of the Arab Games from its first edition in Alexandria, Egypt in the year 1953 to the XIIth edition in Qatar 2011. The team of the Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum researched the historical documentation in various international archives for more than one year. The discussions and cooperation with different partners like the Egyptian Olympic Committee, journalists, TV and radio stations have proven extremely fruitful to shed light on this less known topic. Last but not least, the athletes, who participated in various editions of the Arab Games, contributed greatly to this project with the variety of their emotional stories.

Qatar Museums Authority

The result is an exhibition which presents the athletes and personalities of the Games, the events embedded in their cultural and political history as well as detailed statistics about all Arab Games until today. In addition, all data about the Qatari participations since the first event in 1985 was collected.

Andreas Amendt, Christian Wacker, Hans-Dieter Gerber, Hye Eun Chung, Luis Henrique Rolim Silva, Mayi Al Mohammadi, Mohamed Al Jaber, Mohamed Mubarak Al Eidan, Noof Ibrahim Hassan, Rafia Al Abdulla, Sahar Hossny

Dr. Christian Wacker Director Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum

H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson Abdulla Al Najjar CEO Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum Dr. Christian Wacker, Director/Chief Curator Hans-Dieter Gerber Curator Hassan Abbas Hassan Amer, Guest Curator (Egyptian Olympic Committee) The QOSM team

Arabic Translation Ghada Abou-Jaoude, Sahar Hossny, Dr. Amani Osman, Hassan Kamal Al Emadi Images Agence France-Presse, American Geographical Society Library, Arab Image Foundation, Egyptian Olympic Committee, Farouk Ibrahim, Getty Images, International Olympic Committee, Karim Jaafar, National Geographic Stock, Qatar Association of Athletics Federation, Qatar Olympic Committee, Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum With special thanks to all colleagues from Qatar Museums Authority involved in the project! Design and Production Melablu Interiors W.L.L.

Texts Dr. Christian Wacker, Hans-Dieter Gerber, Hassan Abbas Hassan Amer, Luis Henrique Rolim Silva, Mayi Al Mohammadi, Rafia Al Abdulla, Sahar Hossny, Zahra Shikara



The ARAB GAMES EXHIBITION, designed by the Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum, was on display from 5th October 2011 – 23rd December 2011at the QM...


The ARAB GAMES EXHIBITION, designed by the Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum, was on display from 5th October 2011 – 23rd December 2011at the QM...