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Arab Games for the Handicapped

The first-ever Arab Games for the Handicapped were held in Amman, Jordan from Sept. 9-20, 1999, under the patronage of their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania.

Prince Ra'd Ben Zeid, president of the higher organizing committee sent out an open invitation to all Jordanians to attend the Games saying there would be no entrance fees to the sports venues.

The inaugural games for disabled athletes in the region, came about after the Jordanian delegation returned from the Atlanta Paralympic Games and wanted to hold a regional competition. The games were open to athletes with physical, mental, sight and hearing disabilities and were shown on Jordanian television for five hours daily.

Athletics, wheelchair basketball, weightlifting, target ball, table tennis and football were included in the games. Seven hundred athletes from the Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Palestine, Qatar, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iraq, and Yemen took part.

Thirteen of the sixteen nations won medals. Egypt topped the medals table and won the wheelchair basketball gold, beating Morocco 64-46. Saudi Arabia beat Jordan 2-1 in the football final.

The second Arab Games for the Handicapped were scheduled to be held in Algeria, after the Arab Games in 2003, but the earthquake in May 2003 postponed the games.

Recent Pan Arab games have included evens for disabled athletes.

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