Bahrain hosts first Gulf Olympics competition

The Gulf Olympics torch relay began last Friday in front of Bab Al-Bahrain Square in the capital Manama. [Bahrain Olympics Committee/Al-Shorfa]

The Gulf Olympics torch relay began last Friday in front of Bab Al-Bahrain Square in the capital Manama. [Bahrain Olympics Committee/Al-Shorfa]

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The first edition of the GCC Olympics games will convene under the slogan "One Gulf, One Goal" from October 11th to 22nd under the auspices of King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

Six countries are participating in the games: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, along with host country Bahrain.

Athletes will compete in ten sports: football, basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics, bowling, swimming, cycling, women's table tennis, and goal ball for the blind.

Observers told Al-Shorfa that the first GCC Olympics tournament would become the largest sports event of its kind in the Arab Gulf region, emphasising its importance for improving the performance of teams and athletes from the Gulf countries for international Olympics games.

Mohamed Salemin, captain of Bahrain's national football team, said his country has been, and continues to be, at the forefront of hosting the first editions of Gulf sporting tournaments. He said the Kingdom has the ability to hold the Gulf Olympics competition "efficiently and successfully" at both the technical and organisational levels.

"Bahrain is easily able to make this Gulf 'marriage' of an Olympic nature a success, thanks to its qualified national staff. It is certain to be successful in staging the Gulf sports forum, as Bahrain previously successfully hosted the first edition of the Gulf Football Tournament," Salemin said.

Salemin noted Bahrain's need to organise major sports tournaments of this sort in order to develop its athletic infrastructure such as playing fields, auditoriums and essential facilities.

Regarding football on the list of Olympic sports, Salemin predicted that the Gulf teams would participate with second-string teams because of their preoccupation with the World Cup qualifiers and London Olympics qualifiers at the same time.

The Gulf Olympic games competitions are being held in four main facilities: Bahrain National Stadium, Issa Sports City, Khalifa Sports City and the auditorium of the Sitra Mall bowling hall.

Mohamed Lawri, a member of the Olympics Executive Committee and chairman of the media committee of the Bahraini Olympics Committee, said all arrangements for hosting the games were completed as planned.

Lawri said the Gulf Olympics torch relay began last Friday in front of Bab Al-Bahrain Square in the capital Manama. The torch relay spanned five provinces, taking about two hours in each, and the torch was handed to the final runner in the opening ceremony at Bahrain National Stadium on Tuesday (October 11th), in the presence of the King of Bahrain.

Lawri said that Bahrain's hosting of the first Gulf Olympics is the greatest evidence of stability in the Kingdom after the recent political events, and that the crisis that gripped the country was "transient and its fallout quickly dissipated".

He said that Bahrain has a good chance of winning medals in a number of team and individual sports because it will benefit from the home advantage and fans, in addition to Bahrain's distinguished showing in previous competitions.

Hussein Shaker, a player on Bahrain's national basketball team, said the Bahraini team will work hard to win the Gulf Olympics basketball title.

"Our national team has a good combination of young players in addition to [players] with long experience in the stadiums, so I think our chances of reaping a golden basketball are great with our players' physical and technical preparations," he said

Shaker said Bahrain's basketball team was well-prepared for the Gulf Olympics as a result of their participation in the recent Asian championship in China and by taking part in an internal camp in preparation for the Gulf games.

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    ليث عبود

    2011-11-4

    The Gulf Olympics competition is the first of its kind, as it brings the Gulf Cooperation Countries together. Bahrain will host this competition on its land. I think that Bahrain is a Gulf country with the capabilities that qualify it to host such an important sports event. In addition to that, I think that Bahrain’s organization of the Gulf Olympics proves that it is currently experiencing a stable security situation, after the passing of the events that stormed through this country, due to the protests calling for reform. Holding such a tournament proves that the phase of disturbance in Bahrain is over and that this issue is closed. Also, holding such a tournament will enhance the abilities of the Gulf teams through the competitions of the Gulf Olympics, which will include other sports in addition to soccer. These sports include volleyball, basketball, handball, swimming and a number of other sports. We support Bahrain’s hosting of such a tournament, which will be added to the other Arab tournaments that will develop the artistic capabilities of many Gulf countries’ players in different sports. This will also be an additional motivation for some Gulf countries to give more attention to the sports establishment to prepare for this tournament and for the other Gulf, Arab and even Asian tournaments. We hope to see more Arab tournaments every now and then to please the Arab viewers, who love sports with these Arab competitions.

  • فالح

    2011-10-28

    Bahrain should rather provide what is necessary and most important for Bahraini citizens. They should reconsider the issue of hosting the Gulf Olympics. Who would think of going to Bahrain in the light of all these unsafe and unstable circumstances? I think that the countries of the Arab world should see some stability and quietness. They should witness a state of revival and commitments to human rights, to restore everything that was stolen from them, and then have all other sorts of activities that are considered secondary and unimportant for many Arab people, especially in Bahrain, which is currently living in a state of chaos and dissatisfaction on the part of the people, because of the government’s negligence and defaulting in protecting the rights of the Bahraini people. Therefore, another country, one living in a state of stability and tranquility, should be the one hosting the Gulf Olympics under secure and stable circumstances, away from any acts of violence or popular unrest.

  • فوزان

    2011-10-28

    In my opinion, Bahrain should deal with the difficult conditions it is going through that are harsh for the Bahraini people. It could then direct its attention to the matters of sports and the Gulf Olympics, because the Bahraini people need many services to be provided, which have been lacking throughout all these years. It is very important to destroy poverty, hunger, unemployment, corruption, depravity and the evident negligence of the Bahraini government regarding citizens’ rights. All these things are evident in Bahrain and the people are in a state of rage, uprising and disturbance. How then would Bahrain host the Gulf Olympics competitions? What kind of circumstances would this tournament be held under, while the Bahrainis’ state does not allow for sports competitions to take place on their land, and while Bahraini people are suffering from a state of instability and the loss of security, tranquility and peace in the country?

  • الياس

    2011-10-28

    I am a fan of different types of sports activities, and I think that it is good that Bahrain is hosting the first Olympics competition in the Gulf countries, and this will give the sports domain in the Arab Gulf region a push forward. Moreover, such sports' events help strengthening the brotherhood, love, and solidarity between the Arab Gulf nations. I hope that this Olympics' edition will be a good start for Bahrain, and that it will bring back stability and security throughout the kingdom. I also hope that the Bahraini people will become aware of the conspiracy organized by malicious external hands which wanted to scatter the unity of the people and the kingdom; but thank God, I believe that the danger of this strife has been eliminated and I hope that those Olympic games in their first version, would be successful, God willing.

  • Remo

    2011-10-25

    The Olympic competitions and sports events held from time to time are very important. Many people are interested in games such as athletics, sports fans and all those who watch Olympic competitions, combining all kinds of sports. Hosting these competitions in the Gulf States is very important, especially in Bahrain, to overcome what this county has been suffering and to prove that the security conditions are stabilized, the problems have ended and everything is back to normal. Such gatherings and competitions help in changing the atmosphere; it improves how citizens feel, it helps them to be more comfortable and to forget the difficult events and instability in Bahrain, which was one of the countries that hosted the greatest number of championships. In the land of Bahrain, the most popular competition in the whole world is held, namely the Formula One World Competition, in which all the international formula one racers take part. So, I think changing the atmosphere is very important; competitions are ongoing and very successful, because Bahrain provided everything to achieve this success.

  • خالد حسيب

    2011-10-25

    This Olympics are the first to be held in the Corporation Council Gulf states. It will have a great role in developing all kinds of sports in the Gulf by organizing this important event. This is the first time such big competitions are being hosted in Bahrain, which has the infrastructure that enables it to host these Olympics in its land. So far, Bahrain has garnered a decent number of medals from these competitions because of the excellent participations by Bahraini players.