Things can only get better: Arab oil does not deliver gold in the Olympics
The London 2012 Olympics have come and gone. If you were outside of London and blinked an eye you may have missed it. If you were in London you probably couldn't tune out from the commotion that was the 30th Olympiad. London pride flew at full mast and an opening ceremony that clocked praise globally was matched by the flying colors accompanying Team GB's record performances. Continue reading below »
What about the Middle East - the Arab players and occupiers of Arab lands? Overall, the sentiment felt has been one of disappointment. Less medals than dreamed of and even the traditional successes fell off in the heats. While there were less athletes in the running than might be useful for the intents of banking medals, hopes were high that those Arabs triumphant in the Arab Spring would transfer some of that victory into the medal count.
Notable medal gaps came from the Levant who were under-represented in the award ceremony, and also the well- sponsored UAE who failed to live up to expectations of making a royal mark in the Games.
Stil,l other Gulf states had more to celebrate: Bahrain, who had 12 athletes entered in 3 sporting categorie, landed a bronze medal, which was the first in their history. Something to boast in politically less proud times.
Kuwait the tiny oil rich kingdom managed just a bronze medal out of 4 sport events and 11 contenders.
Egypt had many more athletes competing, but still only cobbled together a couple of silvers. Not quite enough for the populous nation who put forward 119 athlete in 19 sports.
KSA: The Land of the two Holy Mosques landed itself a single bronze medal, which was arguably a decent enough performance for the less expectant Desert Kingdom. 19 athletes in 5 sports also had between them their first female athletes to race for Saudi.
Morocco - this sporty North African Kingdom was quite the flop as consensus would have it. 72 athletes in 12 sports managed a paltry single bronze. This was probably the greatest Olympic Arab disappointment, given a country relatively rich in past Olympic success.
Tunisia: the Jasmine pioneer that was first to the post in the Arab Spring race did itself proud, nabbing a gold, silver and a bronze. While 71 athletes playing 17 sports, some said the North African nation could have done better. Notwithstanding that one of their medal holders was an Arab woman, Habiba Ghribi.
Algeria: 39 athletes in 12 sports came out with a gold which they could not be faulted for. Again, their sporting history indicated that they should have scored more medals. But no one will hold their gold against them!
Qatar: A couple of bronzes between 12 sports players in 4 events for the Gulf emirate saw the Qataris quite pleased with themselves.This national pride did not stop one Al Jazeera news-anchor came down harshly on the nation's revelries, saying that modest bronze medals did not merit a party.
Overall, there was something to be said for Arab achievement - - which included entries for Palestine and women from Saudi, though performance didn't measure up to hopes. Nor did they reconcile with the fact that many of these nations are not short of funding that could carry sports a lot further.
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