Pan Arab Games

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]

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 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.


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

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 alsoEdit


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

External linksEdit