12th Pan-Arab Games wraps up
Jordan reaps least medals in the past four Games
Reported by Aline Bannayan | Dec 25,2011 | 21:41
Jordan vies for the ball against Bahrain on Friday in the final of the Pan-Arab Games football match. Jordan lost to Bahrain (1-0) in the final minutes of the match (Photo courtesy of the Jordan Olympic Committee)
AMMAN — The 12th Pan-Arab Games — the Arab world’s biggest sporting event — ended in Doha, Qatar, on Friday, bringing to a close nearly two weeks of competition in 31 events among 4,000 athletes from 21 Arab countries with only Syria missing the December 9-23 Games.
Although Jordan had the biggest delegation to date, the contingent ended at a disappointing 9th place with a total of 48 medals (11 gold, 14 silver and 23 bronze).
The total medals count was the least for Jordan in the past four Games as the Kingdom took part in 24 sports with a 400-strong delegation of athletes and officials.
Ahead of the Games, Jordan’s head of delegation, Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) Vice Chairman Sari Hamdan, told reporters the Kingdom had a chance to break records and reap medals in many disciplines and earn competitive experience for many others.
However, observers noted many athletes did below par, others who earned bronze did so playing a very limited number of Games, with virtually no competition to assess the technical side of things.
Another negative side was the stripping of two Jordanian bodybuilders of medals (1 gold and 1 bronze) after they tested positive for doping.
Billiards took top spot and boxing second spot while taekwondo, which include four players who have qualified to the 2012 London Olympics, took third spot with 11 medal including three golds.
After winning the gold medal at the 1997 and 1999 Games, Jordan did not compete in football at the 10th and 11th Games. This year, a squad made up of the Olympic team and younger players on the national line-up represented Jordan at the football competition. The team lost 1-0 to Bahrain in the final match.
In basketball, Jordan also lost the gold medal match to Qatar. The team was expected to do better after finishing Asian runner-up this year. Women’s basketball which had not competed since 2003 took the bronze medal.
The official Games website reported the medals count for each event as follows:
Gold: taekwondo 3, wrestling 3, boxing 2, billiards 2 and cycling 1.
Silver: taekwondo 5, gymnastics 2, men’s football 1, men’s basketball 1, chess 1, karate 1, wrestling 1, boxing 1 and bodybuilding 1.
Bronze: taekwondo 3, wrestling 3, weightlifting 2, cycling 2, boxing 2, swimming 2, fencing 2, judo 1, women’s handball 1, women’s basketball 1, karate 2, gymnastics 1 and chess 1.
No medals: Tennis, Squash, shooting, water sports, equestrian and volleyball.
The Jordan Olympic Committee had hoped athletes would surpass the 51 medals picked up at the last Pan-Arab Games in Egypt after it was 61 in Algeria (10th Games) and 129 in Amman (9th Games).
At the 2004 Algeria Games, the JOC acted on its technical committee’s recommendation by enlisting only individual sports which had achieved noticeable results. The approach for qualitative competition by being more selective when it comes to athletes’ participation in regional and international events led to the exclusion of basketball and other team games earning Jordan a total of 61 medals.
The Games have been organised 12 times since the Arab League first contemplated the idea in 1947. The Pan-Arab Games were held in Alexandria in 1953, Beirut 1957, Casablanca 1961, Cairo 1965, Damascus 1976, Rabat 1985, Damascus 1992, Beirut 1997, Amman 1999, Algeria 2004 and Egypt 2007. Women first started competing only at the 6th Games in Rabat.
Except for the 3rd Games in Morocco, 8th Games in Lebanon, 9th Games in Amman, 10th Games in Algeria and the just concluded Games in Qatar hosts have always managed to top the medals table.
The Kingdom’s first and only gold medal at the Pan-Arab Games in a team sport came in Morocco in 1985 when Jordan won the basketball event after defeating Iraq 80-78 in the final.
Final Medals Table
Jordan will play for gold when they meet Bahrain in the football competition at the Pan-Arab Games in Doha on Friday. Full story