Pan Arab Games are held between the nations in the Arab world. It is multi-sport event organized by the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees. The first event was held in Alexandria in 1953, and it is currently scheduled to be held every four years. There have also been Arab university games, para games, school games and beach games.
In Arab games' history, 36 sports have been on the program, including Athletics (first in 1953), Cycling (1953), Basketball (1953), Wrestling (1953), Boxing (1953), Badminton (1999), Bodybuilding (1999), Chess (1999), Bowling (2007), Camel riding (2007), Squash (1999) and many more.
In 1953, The Arab Games Tournament gained official approval. Ahmed EI Demerdash Touny, who is an Egyptian national and member of the International Olympic Committee, convinced the parties of Arab League that the Pan Arab Event should be held because it would play a great part in the success and unity of Arab nations.
The Arab league agreed to start Arab Games and it was organized first time in Alexandria from 26th July to 10th August 1953. It was a 16 days long event. In the first Arab games tournament, eight Arab nations and Indonesia participated. The main purpose of organizing Pan Arab Games event is to achieve success for Arab nation and improving sporting performances among people. The Pan Arab Games event played its role in the unity and success of Arab nations to a great extent.
After the Pan Arab Games in Cairo 1965, there was a gap of 11 years before they were revived in Damascus, Syria. They were then not held for another nine years before they took place in Rabat, followed by a 7-year gap then returning to Damascus in 1992.
Women were first allowed to participate in this event in 1985.
The Next Pan Arab Games
The 13th Pan Arab Games was due to be held in 2015. Beirut had originally been awarded the event but they withdrew because of the crisis in the Middle East. The event was then awarded to Morocco, and then Egypt was suggested as holding it. The event did not happen as expected, and there has been no notice of a rescheduled event.
Other Multi-Events for Arab Countries
- Arab University Games — multi-event for Arab university students, last held in in Morocco in 2018.
- Arab University Games for Beach Sports — held in 2016
- Arab School Games — sporting event for school children. held from 1949-2012
- Arab Games for the Handicapped (also called the Arab Paralympics)