4 Aug, '12 5 Comments
The 22 countries of the Arab League – whose population stood at 349,558,392 – only have two medals between them!
To date; Qatar got a bronze while Egypt got a silver. Bas. That’s it. Khalas.
Why this dismal showing? Any ideas? I’m flummoxed.
Well, obviously not enough ‘wasta and naturalisations’ then! Personally, I am in awe of anyone who dedicates such effort, whether they win or not. Little Bahrain generally has more athletes knocking about that most of the others if you think about it. (Maybe a bit of shooting elsewhere, but nothing too physical).
The Islamic culture would rather watch sport than generate the termination and effort required to even get to the Olympics, plus the pool is reduced by 50% unless they wear a hijab. (Not too conducive for winning golds in the swimming). Another thing; who wants to train in this heat?
Besides, the UK and Europe certainly didn’t allow mass immigration way back in the 60s (and since) to win gold medals at the Olympics, but it is clearly apparent that there’s been an unexpected pay/trade off. Then again, the reality is that of those who compete, the base is definitely of West Indian descent with near zero from the many more millions of Pakistani Muslims who fill the place up.
Hi, Mahmoud, interesting question. In the case of Bahrain, the “Fake Olympic Team” rather explains all. “Mercenaries” only do it for the money and never have their heart in anything. I noticed the “Bahrain competitor” in the 10,000 metres last night dropped out after a few laps.
As has been said, roughly 50% of the population will have restricted access to sport at all because they are women. And although Saudi Arabia allowed women to compete this time, it is difficult to run, long jump and high jump and many other things in a jihab.
Dedicated professional athletes will train at the best facilities in other countries for a good part of the year. Few Arab men will allow their daughters, wives to do that.
It’s probably finding the best sports to qualify in. Egypt used to have some good weight lifters. Archery, clay shooting are all things that could be developed in Arab countries.
Swimming and athletics require thousands of hours of training and selfless dedication. And the heat? Ethiopia and Kenya have produced some of the best long distance runners in the world with no facilities, no money and no sports structure behind them.
With all that oil money sloshing about, it needs someone with the resources, dedication and determination to work out what sports to aim for, find the talent and supported it all the way through.
Start now! (But, please, not Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa!).
I left a comment yesterday but it does not seem to have logged.
This BBC article may provide some of the clues: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19144983
Certainly money has a lot to do with it, but there is plenty of that sloshing about in the Gulf. As mentioned, the hijab is not helpful and the possessive control of women will automatically exclude them from most sports.
Investment in specific sports will produce results. Horse riding is one ( the Saudis got a bronze in show-jumping yesterday), clay shooting perhaps, archery, weight lifting (Egypt has done quite well in the past). But which ever it requires time, effort and investment. I think few people realise just how many thousands of hours go into Olympic training over at least 4 years and more.
Of course, putting some of your best athletes in jail for being the “wrong” sect does not help either.
As for Bahrain’s “Fake Olympic Team”, well paid mercenaries never really have their heart in the job. I noticed “Bahrain’s” 10,000 metre competitor dropped out after a few laps.
Thanks for your comments Peter. Your other comment was marked as spam for some reason. I’ve released it from the queue now.
What do the Arabs excel at? You need to introduce events that play to Arab strengths. For example, Arabs are really good at attacking embassies and burning American flags. If there were Olympic events in that, Arabs would sweep the gold. If there was a bigotry competition, the Arabs would win the gold every time. Maybe you could demand a terrorism event. The Palestinians won the gold in that in the 1972 Munich games.
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