Middle East Athletes Prouder today to Compete

Once again, patriotism across the Arab world is blossoming thanks in part to the ouster of Muammar Gadhafi and Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring.

Wajdi Bouallegue, one of the Arab world’s best gymnasts from Tunisia said he remembered when he was informed he had been suspended in 2009 by his country’s Olympic committee for allegedly tearing up a picture of the country’s president.

Bouallegue who has represented the country in the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games used the time during his suspension to take a respite from the constant demands of training. He was called back by this Olympic Committee in 2010 prior to the Africa Games but was told clearly that in any interview he had to first give thanks to the president of the country before speaking about his own performance.

However, today since former president Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali is no longer ruling the country, the gymnast only thinks about his country and his flag when competing.

Abdullah Idris represents Egypt on their national cycling team. He said that a couple of months ago he had never felt prouder to represent his country. Amer Saud, until just recently was the titleholder for North Africa’s fastest man also said he feels the same way as Idris.

Athletes that represent Libya are much happier to represent their flag and country after the dictatorial regime of Gadhafi was overthrown. Libyans now play for their new country, the new government, the country’s new flag and the people. One survey recently completed found that North African nations’ national soccer teams had scored more goals and had moved up in world rankings since Arab Spring had started.


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