Monday, December 6, 2010

Asian Games 2010 (Strategies and Tactics of Middle-East)

Asian Games 2010

Strategies and Tactics of Gulf States.

As for the Middle-East, it was seen that many of the men in the middle distance and long distance events having former top Ethiopian or Kenyan runners running to specifically run for Qatar and Bahrain. If we look at the top three 5000m track winners of Asian Games 2010, the champion was from Bahrain(former Ethiopian) and the second and third position were from Qatar (former Kenyans).

An interesting fact to note is that in 2006 Asiad in Doha, the Kenyan-born runners won the men's 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m, 3000m steeplechase and marathon events. Apart from a bronze in the marathon, and two minor medals in the 800m, all the male podium finishers were African.

For the year 2010, Bahrain won the men's 5000, 10,000 and 3000m steeplechase. Bahrain should thank the two former Kenyans (Ali Hasan Mahboob, Tareq Mubarak Taher) and one Ethiopian-born athlete (Bilisuma Shugi Gelassa).
Picture  1 - Ethiopian-born Mimi Gebregeiorges, the 5000m winner dashed hopes of Preeja, from India, of getting the second gold. Mimi ran for Bahrain.

The Gulf kingdom also claimed gold when Maryam Jamal won the 1500m women finals while in the 5000m, Mimi Gebregeiorges won the race. Both were formerly from Ethiopia.

Picture 2 - Maryam Jamal came in first in Asian Games 2010 (1500m women finals)

As for Jamal, who unsuccessfully applied for citizenship in the United States, Switzerland and France before settling on Bahrain, the country's flag an athlete might fly was of little matter, as long as you won. She said ,"Nationality is not important. What counts more is good practice instead of where I come from." Mohammed Shaween, the men's 1500m winner supports Jamal's statement by saying, "I think the competition is quite important," he said when quizzed about his feelings about African athletes changing allegiances.

Picture 3 - Mohammed Shaween is the winner of 1500m men.

"If there is a country providing a chance to train the athletes, I think it doesn't matter which country the athletes represent." It is also known that long distance runners, however, spend more time training, ironically, in the countries of their birth as the lack of altitude and inclement hot temperatures of the Middle-East states make it impractical.

The running under the flag of a borrowed nationality has several advantages. Often competition for places in their home countries is so strong that they might never appear internationally. This is especially so in countries like Ethiopia and Kenya.

There is also the lure of better pay, win bonuses and expenses paid beyond the realms of what they could earn at home.

"You have to look for where you can be looked after," 5000m silver medallist James Kwalia said, adding that facilities in his homeland of Kenya were not as good as in Qatar, for whom he now runs.

Picture  3 - In the 5000m race, James Kwalia, second from left, is a true bred Kenyan, who ran for Qatar in the Asian Games 2010 and became a silver medalist.

Gulf officials were able to rebut back on complaints over athletes switching nationalities, saying that European countries and the United States have long been naturalising other countries' runners for their own purpose.

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