Pan Arab Games

Pan Arab Games
First event26 July–10 August 1953, Alexandria, Egypt
Occur every4
Last event6–23 December 2011, Doha, Qatar
OrganizationUnion of Arab National Olympic Committees

The Arab Games (Arabic: الألعاب العربية‎), also called the Pan Arab Games, are a regional multi-sport event held between nations from the Arab world. They are organized by the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees. The first Games took place in 1953 in Alexandria, Egypt. Intended to be held every four years since, political turmoil as well as financial difficulties have made the event an unstable one. Women were first allowed to compete in 1985.[1]


The Arab Games were the brainchild of Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam, the first General Secretary of the Arab League (1945–1952). In 1947, Azzam submitted a memorandum to the League, advocating a multi-sport tournament which involved the participation of all Arab countries.

According to Azzam, sport serves as the best way to connect the youth of Arab countries and enable them to build the future of the Arab identity. As a common favorite of young individuals, sports tournaments encourage them to reach out across boundaries, bond with fellow Arabs, and eliminate differences among them. In the same vein, Azzam announced that the youth of the larger Arab nation is eager to gather all the dispersed Arab sports in an annual tournament which will be held in one of the Arab cities.

However, the Arab Games tournament did not gain official approval until 1953, when Ahmed El Demerdash Touny, an Egyptian national and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), managed to convince the concerned parties within the Arab League that an Arab Games tournament would be instrumental to the overall success of the Arab identity. In response to Touny’s proposal, the Arab League agreed on establishing the Arab Games, making Egypt the first country to organise an Arab Games tournament, which was held in the city of Alexandria from July 26, – August 10, 1953. Eight Arab nations and Indonesia competed in the first Arab Games tournament.

The 2011 Games started in Doha on December 9 with the Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani inaugurating the event at the Khalifa International Stadium.[2]


Typically the games are to take place every four years; however, the last Arab Games were held in 2011 and because of the recent events in the Middle East the games have been postponed with no set date in sight. Initially Lebanon was set to host the 2015 XIII Pan Arab Games, but "withdrew because of the crisis in the Middle East". [3] Following Beirut's withdrawal Morocco was then chosen to host the games, but faced financial complications and also withdrew. "Mohamed Ouzzine, Morocco's Minister of Youth and Sports [at the time, wrote to] the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees (UANOC) telling them that they would be withdrawing." [3]

The same year, Egypt volunteered to host the event. "Sheikh Khalid Al Zubair, chairman of the Oman Olympic Committee (OOC)" said, "We will be offering our full support to Egypt and we have also taken a decision to suspend the financial regulations and other requirements due to lack of time." [4] Had the UANOC accepted Egypt's proposition the games would have taken place in December 2015; however, no such event was held and there have been no formal statements made in regards to the possibility of future games.

Because of the current events in the Middle East there is no telling when the next Arab Games will take place or what country may host the games. If the UANOC keeps the same schedule for holding the games every four years the next games would have taken place in 2019 with an entirely new host country and no reference to the mishap of the 2015 Arab Games.


Year Games Host nation Host city Dates Nations Competitors Sports Events Top on medal table
Men Women Total
1953 1  Egypt Alexandria 26 July – 10 August 9 650 650 10  Egypt
1957 2  Lebanon Beirut 13 – 27 October 10 914 914 12  Lebanon
1961 3  Morocco Casablanca 24 August – 8 September 9 1127 1127 11  United Arab Republic*
1965 4  United Arab Republic Cairo 2 – 14 September 14 1500 1500 13  United Arab Republic**
1976 5  Syria Damascus 6 – 21 October 11 2174 2174 18  Syria
1985 6  Morocco Rabat 24 August – 8 September 17 3442 18  Morocco
1992 7  Syria Damascus 4 – 18 September 18 2611 14  Syria
1997 8  Lebanon Beirut 13 – 27 July 18 3253 22  Egypt
1999 9  Jordan Amman 15 – 31 August 21 5504 26  Egypt
2004 10  Algeria Algiers 24 September – 10 October 22 5525 32  Algeria
2007 11  Egypt Cairo 11 – 26 November 22 6000 32  Egypt
2011 12  Qatar Doha 9 – 23 December[5] 21 6000 33  Egypt
2021 13  Iraq[6] Baghdad Dates TBA[7]
2025 14  Lebanon Beirut


37 sports were presented in the Pan Arab Games history.

Sport Years
Athletics (details) since 1953
Archery (details) since 1953
Badminton (details) since 1999
Basketball (details) since 1953
Bodybuilding (details) since 1999
Boxing (details) since 1953
Bowling (details) since 2007
Bridge (details) (details) since 1999
Camel racing (details) since 2007
Cue Sports since 2011
Chess (details) (details) since 1999
Cycling (details) since 1957
Diving (details) since ....
Sport Years
Equestrian (details) since 1957
Fencing (details) since 1953
Finswimming (details) since 1999
Football (details) since 1953
Golf (details) since 1985
Gymnastics (details) since 1953
Handball (details) since 1961
Judo (details) since 1976
Karate (details) since 1976
Kickboxing (details) since 1999
Modern pentathlon (details) since 2007
Rowing (details) since 1957
Sport Years
Sailing (details) since 1985
Shooting (details) since 1953
Squash (details) since 1999
Surfing (details) since 1999
Swimming (details) since 1953
Table tennis (details) since 1976
Taekwondo (details) since 1997
Tennis (details) since 1961
Volleyball (details) since 1957
Water polo (details) since 1961
Weightlifting (details) since 1953
Wrestling (details) since 1953

All-time medal table

Below is the medal table of the Arab Games tournaments, up until the 12th tournament 2011.

1 Egypt (EGY)5424093481299
2 Syria (SYR)279228282789
3 Tunisia (TUN)257210274741
4 Morocco (MAR)255220257732
5 Algeria (ALG)217253290760
6 United Arab Republic (UAR)1227449245
7 Lebanon (LIB)78119123320
8 Iraq (IRQ)77116151344
9 Qatar (QAT)657285222
10 Jordan (JOR)639679238
11 Saudi Arabia (KSA)5585115255
12 United Arab Emirates (UAE)26294297
13 Bahrain (BHR)24192770
14 Kuwait (KUW)20234689
15 Libya (LBA)18264286
16 Sudan (SUD)16352980
17 Oman (OMN)14142250
18 Palestine (PLE)5296094
19 Yemen (YEM)571527
20 Djibouti (DJI)1214
21 Somalia (SOM)0415
22 Comoros (COM)0000
 Mauritania (MTN)0000
Totals (23 nations)2139207023386547
** Yemen including North Yemen and South Yemen.

See also


  1. ^ "12th Pan Arab Games in Doha". Marhaba. 30 October 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b Mackay, Duncan (17 October 2014). "Pan Arab Games 2015 in doubt after Morocco pull out over financial fears". Insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  4. ^ Mackay, Duncan (2 March 2015). "Egypt set to host 2015 Arab Games after two countries withdraw". Insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  5. ^ UANOC amends the time-schedule of Pan Arab Games 2011 Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine published by the Qatar Olympic Committee on 6 March 2011; retrieved 10 March 2011
  6. ^ "Iraq set to host 2021 Arab Games for first time in history". Kurdistan 24. 24 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Postponement of the Arab Games scheduled for Baghdad 2021". Teller Report. 9 February 2021.
  • Bell, Daniel (2003). Encyclopedia of International Games. McFarland and Company, Inc. Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina. ISBN 0-7864-1026-4.

External links

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