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  • Writer's pictureDr Zied Abbes

OG Tokyo 2021 : Where is the Arab Athletes in Aquatic Sports?

Today we turn the page on the 29th Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo (Japan). There have been 33 sports and 46 disciplines. One of the most watched and second highest with the number of the medals behind Athletics is Aquatic sports. There have been 5 disciplines: Swimming, Open Water, Water Polo, Diving and Artistic Swimming.

Only 4 out 5 disciplines had an Arab participation.

Only Swimming had one medal.

Why? What's missing?

Looking backward to the Arab participation in the OG, we noticed that 99% of our athletes participate just to participate. We feel like we lost before we even started. We don't have yet the confidence to challenge other nations. We don't have yet the will to compete and grab one of the medals. With the exception of Ahmed Hafnaoui who surprised everyone and grab the gold medal in the 400m Freestyle. Is it really a one time exception or we can have more athletes like him? Can we have athletes who can be compete for multiple years and win medals like Oussama Mellouli?

Personally, I think we can.

We have the Technical Staff, the potential, the will and the successful experience already. Let's make a plan from now to the next Olympic Games in Paris 2024. Let's grab a pen & paper and start putting a plan together. Let's include all the persons or parties that can help to achieve our goal. I will not be greedy and ask for Gold. Let's start with finals. Let's be present in multiple events in the top 8. It's a big step already to see our flag among the greatest in the world.

Many Arab countries have a long shore. We are born near the sea, so we have it in our blood, in our soul and in our heart. Let's be present in the open water, swimming and even diving. We have already athletes in these disciplines. Let's go in their steps and put more. Let's learn from their mistakes and improve more.

Today, we turn a chapter and a new one is opening - Let's make it count!!

To be continued...


1. Swimming:

35 events in total (17 Men, 17 Women, 1 Mixed Relay).

Only one Gold medal for all the Arab swimmers in the 400m Freestyle with Ayoub Hafnaoui (TUN). The only Arab country entering the ranking on the 10th place in total.


EGY OSMAN Farida (1995): She is the best sprinter in the Arab & African countries.

24th - 50m Free - 25.13s

33rd - 100m Free - 55.74s

20th - 100m Butterfly - 58.69s


EGY KHALAFALLA Ali (1996): He is the best sprinter in the Arab & African Countries.

24th - 50m Free - 22.22s

30th - 100m Free - 49.31s

TUN HAFNAOUI Ahmed (2002): Youngest Arab swimmer to have a Gold medal in the OG Tokyo 2021

1st - 400m Free - 3:43.36s

10th - 800m Free - 7:49.14s

2. Open Water

Consists of two events: Women's 10km Marathon Swimming and Men's 10km Marathon Swimming, with 25 swimmers in each event.


ALG CHEROUATI Souad Nefissa (1989):

25th - 10km - 2:17:21.6s


TUN MELLOULI Ous (1984): 6th Olympic Games - Gold Medal in the 10km in London 2012.

20th - 10km - 1:56:33.30s

3. Diving

Consist of eight events: four individual events and four synchronised diving events.

The only Arab participation was with Egyptian Ishak Mohab and the first arab qualification to the final round of the 3m springboard.

EGY ISHAK Mohab (1997):

11th - 3m Springboard - 393.15 pts (Final)

23rd - 10m Platform - 318.55 pts

4. Artistic Swimming

There are two artistic swimming events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: duet and team.

The only Arab participation was with the Egyptian National Team.


EGY ALI Laila (2000) / HIEKAL Hanna (2002) - 19th Place


EGY National Team - 8th Place

5. Water-Polo:

No Arab Team since Olympic Games in Athens 2004 with Egypt National Team.

Men's tournament: Teams are divided into two groups of six teams. Each team plays every other team in its group (preliminary round). The top four teams in each group will proceed to the quarterfinals.

Women's tournament: Teams are divided into two groups of five teams. Each team plays every other team in its group (preliminary round). The top four teams in each group will proceed to the quarterfinals

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