Best showing

QATAR won 32 gold, 38 silver and 40 bronze medals to register their best-ever show at the Arab extravaganza.

While the hosts expectedly shone in events like track and field, it was the shooters and archers who captured the country’s imagination. Shooters topped their discipline (eight, 11 and four) while archers came second (four, two, four), behind Egypt.

Qatar Olympic Committee Secretary General Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani did not hide his admiration.

“The Qatar Shooting and Archery Association gave us the most number of medals — 23. It’s our golden federation. If you look at the competitors, most of them were young. Their strategy of attracting new talent succeeded,” said Sheikh Saoud, also Chairman of the Arab Games Organising Committee.

Track and field athletes won six gold, three silver and four bronze medals. While Femi Seun Ogunode (100M) and Motaz Essa Barsham (high jump) triumphed as expected, Rashid Shafi Al Dossari’s gold in discus throw was a surprise.

There were also two notable upsets. While defending champion Khaled Habash Al Suwaidi finished third in shot put, Femi had to be content with 200M silver after slowing towards the end due to a muscle strain.

Shooter Bahiya Mansour Al Hamad (three gold and two silver), gymnast Shaden Wahdan (two, two, one) and chess player Zhu Chen (two gold) were the country’s notable women performers.

Bowler Mubarak Ali Al Muraikhi was the standout male performer (two gold and as many silver) while Abubaker Ali Kamal won a double (3,000M steeplechase and 5,000M).

In equestrianism, Ali Al Rumaihi reigned supreme in individual jumping. He finished in 47.17sec, ahead of Saudi Arabia’s Kamal Bahamdan (47.97). Ali also won a bronze in the team showjumping.

In ball games, the country had a mixed bag. While the hoopsters won their maiden Arab title, handball and volleyball sides finished as runners-up. The football team crashed out in the group stage.

Meanwhile, four Qatari gold medal-winning bodybuilders were caught for doping. They were stripped of their medals and, as a result, Qatar slipped to fourth in overall rankings.

Egypt annexed 90 gold, 76 silver and 67 bronze medals to become undisputed champions. Tunisia (54, 45, 39) and Morocco (35, 24, 54) finished second and third.

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