In its latest video-call meeting, the Council of Arab Ministers for Youth and Sports acknowledged that Beirut will host the 15th round of the Arab Games, the National News Agency reported.
Lebanese Youth and Sports Minister Vartine Ohanian represented Lebanon in the virtual meeting along with the ministry’s director-general, Zaid Khiyami, and its communications manager Hassan Sharara.
After the topic of the Arab Games’ postponement was put on the table, Minister Ohanian requested that a correction be made to the text that refers to the upcoming event.
She pointed out that the text only refers to the postponement of the scheduled round in Iraq, omitting mention of Lebanon, whereas the Arab Games were initially scheduled to take place in Lebanon and then in Iraq.
She explained that the two countries had agreed to exchange their turns, as long as the Council agreed to it, and called for the correction of the text to reflect this fact.
For context, the sports event, which used to take place once every 4 years, has been paused since 2011 when the 12th round was held in Qatar.
Lebanon was scheduled to host that and then the 13th round in 2015 but had to step down “because of the crisis in the Middle East.”
With that in mind, Zaid Khiyami insisted that Lebanon’s right to host the Arab Games still stands, considering that the decision has already been taken in this regard.
He echoed Minister Ohanian’s request, stressing that Lebanon gave up its turn to host in 2011 and then agreed to exchange precedence with Iraq, but does not intend to stop hosting the Games.
In the end, the attendees agreed to have Iraq host the 14th round of the Arab Games, followed by Lebanon with the 15th round, on dates that will be specified later in accordance with the countries’ respective ministries.
Additionally, Beirut will host the Arab Youth Capital event, which usually consists of a variety of athletic, cultural, and artistic events and festivals, in 2022.
Since the event’s inception in 1953, Beirut has hosted the Arab Games twice, in 1957 and 1997, and won the highest number of medals once, in the 1957 round.