The Olympic games have always acted as the ultimate staging ground to celebrate moments of sheer remarkable athleticism and sports prowess. In the Arab world alone, a special figurative red carpet was unrolled for several athletes who shocked the world with their performances.
For instance, Nawal El Moutawakel made history as the first Moroccan athlete to nab a gold medal by winning the 400m hurdle in 1984, while weightlifter Man Asaad brought hope to Syria by claiming the country’s first Olympic medal in 17 years.
As the 2024 Olympics approach, we believe Arabs will create even more significant moments. So, here are our predictions for not only 2024 but also the 2028 Olympics, as there’s a surprise in store for that year in particular:
Saudi Arabia And United Arab Emirates Dominating Equestrian Sports
This year, taking over the Equestrian Olympics are both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where Abdullah Alsharbatly clinched a definitive Saudi victory for his show jumping team during the Olympic qualifiers, winning the first-place spot.
He has been making waves in the sports world, especially after his 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games silver medal win, as well as his bronze medal win during the 2012 Olympics.
The UAE Equestrian team will also be making an appearance at the Olympic games. This is a major win for the team, as it’ll be the first time they qualify for the Olympics. “The UAE rarely qualifies for team events in the Olympics… Now we have a great opportunity to encourage the whole country to get behind us, support us,” said Emirati showjumper Abdullah Al Marri.
The Arab Athletes We Think Will Shine At Paris
2024 is going to be a big year for Arab athletes, with many taking part in the upcoming Paris Olympics. In the field of tennis, we’re excited to see Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur and Egypt’s Mayar Sherif hit up the clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris in 2024.
Both hope to win their first Olympic medals and with good reason. Jabeur is already a reining champion, being the first Arab woman to win a junior Grand Slam and to crack the top 50, while Sherif became the first Egyptian to reach the WTA Finals.
There’s also going to be a major showdown between Egyptian fencer Zaid El Sissy, ranked No. 4 in the world, and Africa’s first Olympic fencing medallist, Alaa Abouelkassem, both vying for the gold.
A Possible Non-Ban Of Hijabis In The Olympics
After years of progress and change, the Olympics today has made major strides in embracing inclusivity, including diverse races, nationalities, religions as well as disabilities in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Now, with the 2024 Games fast approaching, a big question looms over its host country, France: “Will France prohibit hijabi athletes from participating in the Games?”
The reason behind this question is that France is known to impose the fundamental doctrine of laïcité, known as secularism, wherein it’s known that Muslim women are prohibited from wearing the hijab in public spaces as well as sporting arenas.
Many are hoping that the ban won’t take place during the Olympics, and instead, inclusivity wins over, allowing for special moments to take place — like how Nouhaila Benzina, a Moroccan defender, made history as the first football player to wear a hijab at a FIFA World Cup.
The Egyptian Water Ballet Team Shining At The 2024 Olympics
Achieving a major milestone, the Egyptian Water Ballet Team is getting a remarkable opportunity to shine on the global stage. Its qualification for the 2024 Summer Olympics comes after securing third place in the World Aquatics Championships held in Fukuoka, Japan.
The team has rigorously trained, day in and out, for this qualification. That’s why when the announcement was made, the entire Egyptian nation was glowing in pride and adoration of the team. We cannot wait to see how the team of young water ballerinas will fare in the global sporting event.
Gearing Toward Squash Joining The 2028 Olympics
A lot of squash athletes are eagerly preparing, but their focus isn’t on the 2024 Olympics — it’s on the 2028 Olympics. It has been officially declared that Squash will join the Olympic Games for the first time ever.
As one of five sports joining the 2028 Olympics, this marks a crucial moment for Egyptian squash champions like Nour El Sherbini and Ali Farag. They’ll now get a chance to nab gold in one of the biggest global sporting competitions.
With so much expected to happen in the upcoming two editions of the widely anticipated sporting event known as the Olympics, we have a feeling that both years will be the ones that’ll cement many Arab athletes as global champions.