Not just poets: 9 times the Middle East excelled in sport

Published November 17th, 2016 - 16:08 GMT

Rate Article:

 
PRINT Send Mail
comment (0)

The Middle East is famous for its ancient civilizations, poetry, and exporting the three most powerful world religions. When it comes to athletics, however, it is not been able to compete with the great sporting nations of Jamaica, with its sprinters, or Brazil with its footballers. But times have changed, and Middle Eastern/North African countries won a brilliant 32 medals at the recent summer Olympics.

Many in the region get very emotionally involved when it comes to sport - as the Egyptian Sport Minister, Khaled Abdel Aziz, found out on Sunday when he was filmed crying with joy at his national football team’s victory against Ghana
Let’s take a look at some of the local countries whose sporting achievements would make Abdel Aziz blub with pride.

View as list
Soccer is the region’s favorite sport, and many countries would claim the best team, but war-torn Iraq has particularly impressed with its resilience against tragedy. In 2007, during sectarian civil war, the country’s national team won the Asian Cup, a symbol of unity to a divided nation.
Reduce

Image 1 of 9:  1 / 9Soccer is the region’s favorite sport, and many countries would claim the best team, but war-torn Iraq has particularly impressed with its resilience against tragedy. In 2007, during sectarian civil war, the country’s national team won the Asian Cup, a symbol of unity to a divided nation.

(Source: WikimediaCommons)

Enlarge
On the other side of MENA from Iraq, the mighty Algerian soccer team has qualified for 4 World Cups, and in Rio two years ago they made it into the second round, despite some players fasting for Ramadan. They are perhaps the region’s most successful team, but don’t let rivals Egypt hear us say it!
Reduce

Image 2 of 9:  2 / 9On the other side of MENA from Iraq, the mighty Algerian soccer team has qualified for 4 World Cups, and in Rio two years ago they made it into the second round, despite some players fasting for Ramadan. They are perhaps the region’s most successful team, but don’t let rivals Egypt hear us say it!

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
Jordanians were thrilled to win their first ever Olympic medal in 2016. Twenty-year-old Ahmed Abu Ghaush was given a hero’s welcome on his return to the country after winning gold in the Taekwondo under 68kg category. In fact, Arabs dominated the Taekwondo, with Egyptian and Tunisian medalists as well this time.
Reduce

Image 3 of 9:  3 / 9Jordanians were thrilled to win their first ever Olympic medal in 2016. Twenty-year-old Ahmed Abu Ghaush was given a hero’s welcome on his return to the country after winning gold in the Taekwondo under 68kg category. In fact, Arabs dominated the Taekwondo, with Egyptian and Tunisian medalists as well this time.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
Iran has a long history of wrestling. While it might be referred to as Graeco-Roman wrestling, the sport, known in Persian as koshti, is just as popular with their Iranian neighbours. They are also rather good at it, having taken five golds at the 2016 Olympics and six in 2012!
Reduce

Image 4 of 9:  4 / 9Iran has a long history of wrestling. While it might be referred to as Graeco-Roman wrestling, the sport, known in Persian as koshti, is just as popular with their Iranian neighbours. They are also rather good at it, having taken five golds at the 2016 Olympics and six in 2012!

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
At an Olympics where Muslim women wearing full-length suits raised eyebrows in usually-scantily-clad sport  volleyball, teenager Sara Ahmed of Egypt undermined critics when she won bronze in the weightlifting. She was Egypt’s first female medalist in 104 years of participation and first Arab woman to win a weightlifting medal.
Reduce

Image 5 of 9:  5 / 9At an Olympics where Muslim women wearing full-length suits raised eyebrows in usually-scantily-clad sport volleyball, teenager Sara Ahmed of Egypt undermined critics when she won bronze in the weightlifting. She was Egypt’s first female medalist in 104 years of participation and first Arab woman to win a weightlifting medal.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Enlarge
The history of Arabian horses has been traced back 4,500 years, so it is not surprising that their Arab riders should excel in equestrian sport to this day. Saudis and Emiratis dominated the show jumping at the 2010 Asian games, bringing home all but one of the team and individual medals.
Reduce

Image 6 of 9:  6 / 9The history of Arabian horses has been traced back 4,500 years, so it is not surprising that their Arab riders should excel in equestrian sport to this day. Saudis and Emiratis dominated the show jumping at the 2010 Asian games, bringing home all but one of the team and individual medals.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
In the Lebanese National Championship, Jackie Chamoun has won medals for skiing in the slalom and giant slalom events. She has competed at international tournaments since she was a teenager and represented Lebanon at the Winter Olympic Games 2010 and 2014. Perhaps she's more famous for posing nude in a special edition ski calendar!
Reduce

Image 7 of 9:  7 / 9In the Lebanese National Championship, Jackie Chamoun has won medals for skiing in the slalom and giant slalom events. She has competed at international tournaments since she was a teenager and represented Lebanon at the Winter Olympic Games 2010 and 2014. Perhaps she's more famous for posing nude in a special edition ski calendar!

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
Morocco has quite the reputation for distance running. Saïd Aouita broke the world records for 4 different distances during an illustrious 1980s career. His fellow countryman Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1998 world record for the 1500 meters was so great that it remains undefeated to this day. Both also won many golds.
Reduce

Image 8 of 9:  8 / 9Morocco has quite the reputation for distance running. Saïd Aouita broke the world records for 4 different distances during an illustrious 1980s career. His fellow countryman Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1998 world record for the 1500 meters was so great that it remains undefeated to this day. Both also won many golds.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
One to look out for in the future, Saudi Arabia reportedly has a very successful Bossaball team. Only a decade old, the sport, which was developed in Spain, combines volleyball, soccer, gymnastics and extreme trampolining. So far, the Gulf state is the only one in the region to have taken up the sport.
Reduce

Image 9 of 9:  9 / 9One to look out for in the future, Saudi Arabia reportedly has a very successful Bossaball team. Only a decade old, the sport, which was developed in Spain, combines volleyball, soccer, gymnastics and extreme trampolining. So far, the Gulf state is the only one in the region to have taken up the sport.

Enlarge

1

Soccer is the region’s favorite sport, and many countries would claim the best team, but war-torn Iraq has particularly impressed with its resilience against tragedy. In 2007, during sectarian civil war, the country’s national team won the Asian Cup, a symbol of unity to a divided nation.

Image 1 of 9Soccer is the region’s favorite sport, and many countries would claim the best team, but war-torn Iraq has particularly impressed with its resilience against tragedy. In 2007, during sectarian civil war, the country’s national team won the Asian Cup, a symbol of unity to a divided nation.

(Source: WikimediaCommons)

2

On the other side of MENA from Iraq, the mighty Algerian soccer team has qualified for 4 World Cups, and in Rio two years ago they made it into the second round, despite some players fasting for Ramadan. They are perhaps the region’s most successful team, but don’t let rivals Egypt hear us say it!

Image 2 of 9On the other side of MENA from Iraq, the mighty Algerian soccer team has qualified for 4 World Cups, and in Rio two years ago they made it into the second round, despite some players fasting for Ramadan. They are perhaps the region’s most successful team, but don’t let rivals Egypt hear us say it!

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

3

Jordanians were thrilled to win their first ever Olympic medal in 2016. Twenty-year-old Ahmed Abu Ghaush was given a hero’s welcome on his return to the country after winning gold in the Taekwondo under 68kg category. In fact, Arabs dominated the Taekwondo, with Egyptian and Tunisian medalists as well this time.

Image 3 of 9Jordanians were thrilled to win their first ever Olympic medal in 2016. Twenty-year-old Ahmed Abu Ghaush was given a hero’s welcome on his return to the country after winning gold in the Taekwondo under 68kg category. In fact, Arabs dominated the Taekwondo, with Egyptian and Tunisian medalists as well this time.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

4

Iran has a long history of wrestling. While it might be referred to as Graeco-Roman wrestling, the sport, known in Persian as koshti, is just as popular with their Iranian neighbours. They are also rather good at it, having taken five golds at the 2016 Olympics and six in 2012!

Image 4 of 9Iran has a long history of wrestling. While it might be referred to as Graeco-Roman wrestling, the sport, known in Persian as koshti, is just as popular with their Iranian neighbours. They are also rather good at it, having taken five golds at the 2016 Olympics and six in 2012!

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

5

At an Olympics where Muslim women wearing full-length suits raised eyebrows in usually-scantily-clad sport  volleyball, teenager Sara Ahmed of Egypt undermined critics when she won bronze in the weightlifting. She was Egypt’s first female medalist in 104 years of participation and first Arab woman to win a weightlifting medal.

Image 5 of 9At an Olympics where Muslim women wearing full-length suits raised eyebrows in usually-scantily-clad sport volleyball, teenager Sara Ahmed of Egypt undermined critics when she won bronze in the weightlifting. She was Egypt’s first female medalist in 104 years of participation and first Arab woman to win a weightlifting medal.

(Source: Wikipedia)

6

The history of Arabian horses has been traced back 4,500 years, so it is not surprising that their Arab riders should excel in equestrian sport to this day. Saudis and Emiratis dominated the show jumping at the 2010 Asian games, bringing home all but one of the team and individual medals.

Image 6 of 9The history of Arabian horses has been traced back 4,500 years, so it is not surprising that their Arab riders should excel in equestrian sport to this day. Saudis and Emiratis dominated the show jumping at the 2010 Asian games, bringing home all but one of the team and individual medals.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

7

In the Lebanese National Championship, Jackie Chamoun has won medals for skiing in the slalom and giant slalom events. She has competed at international tournaments since she was a teenager and represented Lebanon at the Winter Olympic Games 2010 and 2014. Perhaps she's more famous for posing nude in a special edition ski calendar!

Image 7 of 9In the Lebanese National Championship, Jackie Chamoun has won medals for skiing in the slalom and giant slalom events. She has competed at international tournaments since she was a teenager and represented Lebanon at the Winter Olympic Games 2010 and 2014. Perhaps she's more famous for posing nude in a special edition ski calendar!

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

8

Morocco has quite the reputation for distance running. Saïd Aouita broke the world records for 4 different distances during an illustrious 1980s career. His fellow countryman Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1998 world record for the 1500 meters was so great that it remains undefeated to this day. Both also won many golds.

Image 8 of 9Morocco has quite the reputation for distance running. Saïd Aouita broke the world records for 4 different distances during an illustrious 1980s career. His fellow countryman Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1998 world record for the 1500 meters was so great that it remains undefeated to this day. Both also won many golds.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

9

One to look out for in the future, Saudi Arabia reportedly has a very successful Bossaball team. Only a decade old, the sport, which was developed in Spain, combines volleyball, soccer, gymnastics and extreme trampolining. So far, the Gulf state is the only one in the region to have taken up the sport.

Image 9 of 9One to look out for in the future, Saudi Arabia reportedly has a very successful Bossaball team. Only a decade old, the sport, which was developed in Spain, combines volleyball, soccer, gymnastics and extreme trampolining. So far, the Gulf state is the only one in the region to have taken up the sport.

Reduce

Advertisement

Add a new comment

 avatar