Things can only get better: Arab oil does not deliver gold in the Olympics

Published August 13th, 2012 - 16:13 GMT

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Oussama Mellouli swims to Olympic Gold for Tunisia at London
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Image 1 of 10: Tunisia: The Tunisians were the stars of the stamina events taking 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze in swimming and steeplechase. Star swimmer Oussama Mellouli was the comeback kid, taking gold in the 10K after his drugs scandal five years ago. That gives him a second gold to his collection on the back of his win at Beijing.

T&F: Taoufik Makhloufi takes Gold for Algeria in London 2012
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Image 1 of 10: Algeria: Taoufik Makhloufi was this North African nation’s Olympic hero, getting their only medal - but a gold at that - at the middle distance1500 meters. The runner only recently switched up from 800m but the extra laps clearly suited him.

One of Egypt's Silvers is Alaaeldin Abouelkassem in fencing, London 2012
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Image 1 of 10: Egypt: They won gold in the Arab Spring but the Egyptians only managed two silver in London. Alaaeldin Abouelkassem was pipped to the post in fencing, while Karam Mohamed Gaber Ebrahim got knocked out in the last round of the Greco-Roman wrestling.

Nasser Al-Attiya gives Qatar Bronze
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Image 1 of 10: Qatar: The Gulfis were early medalists but struggled to keep up form towards the end of the games. Mutaz Essa Barshim and Nasser Al-Attiya won two bronzes between them (in high-jump and shooting) but Nasser’s Men's Skeet Shooting was the third ever for Qatar at an Olympics.

Maryam Yusuf Jamal scores a bronze medal for Bahrain
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Image 1 of 10: Bahrain: Maryam Yusuf Jamal made history for her country at London 2012, winning their first ever medal at the Olympics: a bronze in the 1500. Unsurprisingly this middle distance runner has Ethiopian origins.

Equestrian team adds a Bronze to the Kingdom's medal count
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Image 1 of 10: Saudi Arabia: More points for Arabian race horses! The equestrian team won bronze for the Kingdom but their victory was overshadowed by Sarah Attar. She was the first Saudi woman to compete and got a standing ovation despite coming last.

Abdalaati Iguider receives bronze for Morocco 2012
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Image 1 of 10: Morocco: Abdalaati Iguider was the scourge of the US, just pipping their athlete to the bronze, leaving them medal-less in the men’s 1500. It was sweet victory for Morocco with their only medal at London 2012. Yet what a disappointment for Morocco, traditionally not short on medals in track and field.

Fehaid Aldeehani takes kuwait's bronze at London 2012
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Image 1 of 10: Kuwait: the tiny oil kingdom hits up a bronze in men's trap shooting. Fehaid Aldeehani gets 3rd place for men's trap shooting.

Israel Olympics London 2012
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Image 1 of 10: Israel: This state did not put itself on the map this time round in the Olympics 2012. Perhaps Israel should consider investing more in sport than military. Not even a winner in the shooting events. Not a good year for them in the Eurovision song contest either, not appearing on the scoreboard at all in the finals. Better luck at Rio, chaps!

Saudi's first woman Sarah Attar Olympics London
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Image 1 of 10: Save the best for last: Last in our slides, and last in her race, but first for Arab pride and women athletes everywhere as a Saudi woman is the first to compete at the Olympics, in the track and field.

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.

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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Very interesting show hoping more Arab states join in & do better in Rio

Hannah (not verified) Tue, 08/14/2012 - 18:26

TUNISIA actually landed 3 medals, a silver one is missing from your article. Habiba Ghribi had a silver in the 3000 meter steeple making Arab Woken proud.

Thanks

Mahdi (not verified) Mon, 08/13/2012 - 19:29

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