Pan Arab Games open with great fanfare



  • Print this article
  • increase decrease

A large crowd packed the stands of the National Stadium in Doha when the 2011 Pan Arab Games opened Friday (December 9th).

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, Nabil al-Arabi, secretary-general of the Arab League, and a large diplomatic contingent attended the opening ceremony. The estimated crowd was more than 25,000.

Nearly 8,000 athletes from 21 Arab countries are participating in the games. The Egyptian team is the largest among the participants with about 400 athletes. The games include 33 individual and group events, and will continue until December 23rd.

For the first time in the history of the Pan Arab Games, the opening ceremony featured three artists, including Egypt's Ihab Tawfiq, Syria's Asala Nasri, and Qatar's Fahd Kubaisi.

Khalil al-Jaber, director of sports affairs for the games' organising committee, said opening ceremony tickets sold out two days before the games began. This is the first time that a Gulf country is hosting the Arab Games since its inception in 1953.

Al-Jaber told Al-Shorfa that world-class sports stadiums and training facilities would help raise the standards of the games.

"The Pan Arab Games in Doha is the first to follow the highest international standards in the history of the games, and all preparations were made at the highest levels from the stadiums to the athletes' village," he said.

"It is also the first Pan Arab Games where the swimming competition winners will automatically qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London."

Hamad al-Tamimi, director of the services for the games' organising committee, said 2,500 athletes participated in the opening ceremony.

He said the provision of substantial financial rewards will encourage Arab athletes and will improve the quality of the Arab games.

"All signs indicate that the Pan Arab Games in Qatar will be at the Olympic level," he said.

Cash prizes for winners

The organising committee will grant awards to record breakers and to medal winners in individual sports categories, group sports, and individual sports in teams. An award will also be given to the event's best athlete.

The best athlete in the Pan Arab Games will win a $70,000 cash prize, and the same award will be given to the Olympic committee with which the winner is affiliated.

Recipients of gold, silver and bronze medals in individual sports and the Olympic committee they are affiliated with will each win cash prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.

Recipients of gold, silver and bronze medals in group sports and their respective Olympic committee will each win cash prizes of $50,000, $30,000, and $10,000, respectively.

In the individual team sports category, recipients of gold, silver and bronze medals in group games and their respective Olympic committee will each win cash prizes of $3,000 and $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

According to Ibrahim Saad, a member of the organising committee, tickets for several events, especially football, were in high demand.

"Most of the stadiums used for the games will have organised transportation services and live television broadcasting," Saad added.

"The Qatari al-Dawri and al-Kass Sports networks will broadcast live all events on al-Jazeera Sports and al-Jazeera Sports News."

Saad said the organising committee decided to allocate ticket proceeds to charities in Qatar.



    مهند احمد


    Although Qatar is a small country located on the Arabian Gulf, it has been able to play a major role in the general policy of the Arab region and even in the international arena. This country has become influential in the Arab world and even in the whole world. This political activity has enabled Qatar to become a renowned country in the world. This is part of the reason for its popularity in tourism. Indeed, tourists are keen to explore this small-sized country, which has a significant influence on the international arena. As far as I am concerned, the other reason for the prosperity of the tourist sector in Qatar is the organization of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The fact that Qatar managed to qualify to host the most important tournament in the world proves that this country has enough sports facilities and urban and economic development to be eligible to host the World Cup. In fact, this influences the choice of tourists, who know quite well that Qatar has developed so much that it was chosen by FIFA to host the World Cup. The significant urban development in Qatar has become something attractive to tourists. Obviously, the Emir who leads Qatar is worthy of much respect because of those great achievements during his rule. Finally, I can say that the security situation, which is quite stable, has enabled Qatar to become a destination for many tourists who are looking for safety, comfort and progress in the places they want to visit and where they want to spend their holidays.

  • ممدوح خالد


    After Heba Sabour published the scene from the opening ceremony of the Arab Games Championship held in Qatar, this scene has enraged all the Moroccan people who love their country and are proud of every inch of our dear territory. Qatar had removed half of the country of Morocco from the map in the opening ceremony of the championship of the Arab Games. This provoked the feelings of 40 million Moroccans, by ignoring Arab brotherhood. A few minutes after the scene was published, the calls for withdrawal from the championship have come successively, as well as demands for the intervention of the state and a formal apology. In case there is no apologizing, Morocco should withdraw, because remaining and participating would mean that Morocco accepts this insult.

  • صباح عادل


    Qatar, this state which calls itself a neighboring country to Morocco and its area, does not exceed a Gulf course in Casablanca. It has divided the map of Morocco and deleted its desert at the announcement of the Moroccan delegation, which participated in the Arab championship. Where are our officials who are steeped in deep sleep? If the Olympic Committee and FIFA, the largest two sports authorities in the world, recognize that the desert belongs to the state of Morocco, and then a state larger than it comes and it is considered as a neighboring country, then it can only claim to be a neighbor and do the opposite!!! There is no power but in God, the High and the Great.

  • جلال الدين


    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco should send a protest letter to the state of Qatar, which hosts the championship of the Arab Games, for showing the map of Morocco as incomplete, without our desert. Whether this was intended or not intended, Qatar deliberately showed it as incomplete. For Qatar, which claims to be the country of progress, this conduct has proven the contrary, as it is the mentality, not oil and gas, which makes progress.

  • معين زيدان


    The Moroccan people were exposed to a great insult in the opening ceremony of the Pan Arab Games, when the Qatari people deliberately showed the Morocco map as being divided; the desert was intentionally deleted, and this was done with evil intentions. The Qatari people deliberately insulted Morocco and they used the mean treacherous methods, after we had heard recently about the normalization of the relations between the two countries. But it seems that our Qatari brothers have another point of view, which is full of envy and hatred. The slogans of the Arab Games and what they symbolize, in terms of Arab unity and Arab brotherhood, represent a great contrast between what is said and what is happening behind the scenes. As long as these slogans are not applied in reality, why do we have to raise it and praise it?

  • صباح


    I call upon the Moroccan Mission to withdraw immediately from this championship and to demand an official apology live on Al Jazeera channels. Then they need to show the full map of Morocco on these channels. It may be an unintentional mistake, because all those who contributed to the completion of this work are foreigners. They do not know anything about the Arab nation except through the Google search engine.

  • جودت بوكريم


    I have been greatly shocked while following the inauguration of the 2011 Arab games in the state of Qatar. Some maps and borders of some Arab countries have been deformed. This can be attributed to the close relations between Qatar and the Zionist entity and the Qataris’ fear of the anger of their ally, Israel. However, the strange matter that our desert regions have been cut out of the map of our Moroccan kingdom. Did the history stop in 1974, according to the Qataris? Is there a relation between Qatar’s rulers and the mercenaries? Or is there Qaddafi paranoia under a Qatari cloak? We will not forgive any new Qaddafi who stands in the way of our territorial unity.

  • سعيد راضي


    O my God, it seems that the Arab countries are the only countries which commit such acts, as if we were not brothers. This act has been repeated more than one time only from their side. I have started to suspect the issue, as if the matter has been done intentionally. For every free and strong Moroccan who loves his country and adores his territory, you should stand up and condemn this act, so as to enhance the image of Morocco and respect its privacy.

  • عمار


    We need a sort of organization; half the stadium is empty in the World Cup, and you brought Indians and paid them to fill the stadium. All the residents of the Gulf do not account for 40 million Moroccans. Those who were following the match in our quarter were larger in number than those who attended the inauguration. I would like to ask why we always follow the west. The answer is because we did not find goodness in our brothers. Why do you envy us for the hot weather, the humidity, the dust or the territory?