Middle Eastern Athletes Achieve New Heights in Tokyo Games
The MENA region has so far racked up five gold, two silver and seven bronze medals in the 2020 Olympics, being held in Tokyo, Japan. Fully half of these were in taekwondo.
Tunisian athletes lead the pack, with Ahmed Hafnaoui winning 1st place in the men’s 400m freestyle race in swimming and Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi 2nd place in taekwondo’s men’s -58kg category.
Israel and Turkey have each won a gold and two bronze medals. Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat took gold in the men’s floor exercise in artistic gymnastics; Avishag Semberg won the bronze medal for taekwondo in the women’s -49kg class; and the Israeli judo team took bronze, as well. Turkey’s gold medal was won by Mete Gazoz in the men’s individual archery competition. Hakan Recber and Hatice Kubra Ilgun each won bronze medals in taekwondo, the former in the men’s -68kg category and the latter in the women’s women’s -57kg class.
Iran and Qatar have also won gold for the region – Javad Foroughi, a nurse in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the men’s 10m air pistol shooting competition; and Fares Elbakh, commonly known as Meso Hassouna, for weightlifting in the men’s 96kg division.
Jordan’s Saleh Elsharabaty came in 2nd in taekwondo’s men’s -80kg class.
Finally, rounding out the tally for Middle Eastern athletes: Egypt’s two bronze medals, won by Seif Eissa for taekwondo in the men’s -80kg class and Hedaya Malak for taekwondo in the women’s -67kg category; and a bronze for Kuwait’s Abdullah Alrashidi in the men’s skeet shooting contest.