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Arab Games in Doha

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Arab Games in Doha

Postby LiamRiley » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:45 pm

The Pan Arab Games began a couple of weeks ago and the athletics programme started today (December 15). Over the next five days the best athletes of the Arab world will compete at the Khalifa Stadium, as Doha holds yet another international event.

Tunisia took the first three golds on offer (Hassanine Sebei and Chaima Trabelsi both defended their titles in the walks, while Sara Ben Saad won the women's hammer). The (former African) oil-state contigent saw out the day: Tejitu Daba won the 10000m, Abubaker Ali Kamal (formerly of Sudan) won the steeplechase and Genzeb Shumi won the 1500m. The new Asian sprint king Femi Ogunode won the men's 100m.

Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia typically perform well in this competition, but one would expect that both Bahrain and Qatar will be a greater factor this year than they have been before (both have two golds already, compared to totals of 3 and 2, respectively, from the whole athletics competition previously in 2007).
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Re: Arab Games in Doha

Postby LiamRiley » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:56 pm

Morocco (eleven golds and 24 medals) came out on top at the Arab Games, courtesy of a strong performance in the women's track events. Malika Akkaoui got three golds with a 400/800/4x4 relay triple and knocked a good second off her 400m best with a run of 53.94 seconds.

The home-grown Qatari men performed very well - high jump star Mutaz Essa Barshim topped 2.30m, Rashid Al-Dosari won the discus, while Hamza Driouch was runner-up in the 1500m but became the third fastest ever youth over the distance with a time of 3:34.43min. Hitherto unknown runner Musaab Abdelrahman Bala won the 800m for Qatar as well. The country's heavy investment in sports and coaching seems to have started bearing fruit. I am much more happy to see money directed towards local sports programmes, rather than African-recruiting ones.

Talking of which, the United Arab Emirates took the top two spots in the women's 5000m - former Ethiopians Alia Saeed and Betlhem Desalegn took the honours. It would be sad if Arab and Asian level competitions became a test between Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE over who can pay for the best foreign talent.

A bit of British interest: Rabah Yousif, the Sudanese athlete who trains in the UK, snatched a 400m bronze (45.87) and a relay silver.

Despite turmoil at home, the Egyptian women performed well in the field events; in all the throws, two of the three medalists were Egyptian and the nation also scored four medals from the four jump events. It is perhaps not coincidental that Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco have among the best sportswomen as well as the most prominent feminist advocates in the Arab world.

Overall, performances were of a relatively low standard, which can be expected given the scheduling and the region.
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Re: Arab Games in Doha

Postby LiamRiley » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:59 pm

For clarity - Hamza Driouch was born in Morocco, but has been a citizen of Qatar since the age of fifteen, making him a bit more home-grown than your average "Bekele Al-Kemboi Transferah".
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Re: Arab Games in Doha

Postby Guto Nyth Bran » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:37 pm

LiamRiley wrote:For clarity - Hamza Driouch was born in Morocco, but has been a citizen of Qatar since the age of fifteen, making him a bit more home-grown than your average "Bekele Al-Kemboi Transferah".


Did he come up through the Aspire Academy project? If i was being cynical I'd say Qatar were just importing athletes at a younger age by using that project as bait...
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