Pan-Arab Games

The Pan-Arab Games were launched in 1953 and have been held nine times: Alexandria in 1953, Beirut 1957, Casablanca 1961, Cairo 1965, Damascus 1976, Rabat 1985, Damascus 1992, Beirut 1997 and Amman 1999 (15 – 31 August).

The 1999 games included 29 of the 62 Olympic events and got the most complete turnout ever with more than 4500 athletes from 21 Arab countries taking part. Only Kuwait did not participate, to protest the first participation of Iraqi athletes since the 1990 invasion of their country. To secure the maximum number of participating countries, Jordan even covered the expenses of 10-member delegations from the Comoros, Somalia and Djibouti.

Egypt came out as the biggest medals winner of these 9th Pan-Arab Games, with a total of 263 medals, 105 of gold, followed by Tunisia (137 medals, out of which 40 gold ones).

The previous games – in Lebanon – were also won by Egypt with a total of 194 medals (97 gold, 57 silver, 40 bronze), followed by Algeria (43 gold, 44 silver, 4 bronze; total 131)

The closing ceremony of the 9th Games missed the festivities witnessed during the opening, as a mark of respect for the president of the Arab Sports Federation, Prince Faisal Ben Fahd (son of the King of Saudi Arabia) who died during the games.

Algeria will host the 10th Pan-Arab Games in 2003 and Libya is candidate to host the 11th edition in 2007. The idea is now to to ensure that the Games are held every four years.