Morocco won 11 gold, four silver and nine bronze medals to clinch the overall title at the Arab Games that ended on Tuesday in Doha, with Kenya’s presence also felt after Kapsabet-born Bahraini star Ali Hasan Mahboob struck gold in the 10,000 metres race.
Born Silas Kirui and naturalised as a Bahraini in 2005, the 30-year-old Mahboob clocked 28 minutes, 39.88 seconds to win the gold medal with Djibouti’s Mumin Gala (28:43.32) second and another Bahraini, Ethiopia-born Bilisuma Shugi Gelasa, taking bronze in 28:44.10.
Hosts Qatar were second best overall with six gold, three silver and four bronze, with Saudi Arabia (6-0-1) and Egypt (5-12-5) following in that order.
During the final day’s action on Tuesday, a fast 1,500 metres was registered with Djibouti’s Hassan Ayanleh taking gold in a sensational meet record 3:34.32, his first sub-3:40, which was a new national record and 16th best junior performance of all-time. Several other records fell, with Morocco taking the women’s 4x100m relay in a record 46.16 seconds and Malika Akkaoui, also from Morocco, completing a rare triple gold in adding the 800m record (2:02.42) to her 400m title.
Akkaoui was also in the gold medal-winning 4x400m relay team.
Nisrin Dinar cleared 3.91 metres to win gold and set a new championship pole vault record. Alia Saeed of the United Arab Emirates was the surprise 5,000m winner (16:11.54), defeating Bahraini pre-race favourites.
In the men’s competition, Algerian triple jump winner, Issam Nima, (16.59m) also broke the championship record as did Mohammed Al-Karee of Saudi Arabia in the decathlon (7,677 points, also a national record) who beat favourite Hamid Dhouibi of Tunisia (7,664).
Moroccan Aziz Ouhadi won the 200m (20.69 seconds) beating home favourite, Nigeria-born Femi Ogunode (21.01) while double All Africa Games winner Yasser Ibrahim of Egypt was the best in the shot put (19.44m).
Qatar’s Ali Abubaker Kamal completed a double as, after winning the steeplechase in 8:36.82, he took the 5,000m title in a personal best 13:45.60.
Saudi Arabian Ahmad Al-Mouled won the 110m hurdles in new national record of 13.60, finishing ahead of Algerian record holder Othman Hadj Lazib (13.74). Saudi Arabia won both men’s relays in 39.67 and 3:07.22.