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How Middle Eastern nations made history at the Olympics

From Jordan's first medallist to Palestine's first horseman: How the region's sports stars have been shaking things up at the Rio Games
Jordan's Ahmad Abughaush poses with his gold medal on the podium AFP)

The Middle East has  been making history in the past two weeks, not for reasons linked to politics and conflict but because of the achievements of the sporting stars representing the region at the Olympics in Rio.

The first time Jordan wins a medal

Ahmad Abughaush put Jordan on the map by picking up the country's first-ever medal in the games since Amman first participated in 1980. Up against Russia, Abughaush won the men’s 68kg taekwondo title, making Jordan’s first medal a gold one.

Ahmad Abughaush
(Ahmad Abughaush / AFP)

Bahrain picks up its first gold

Bahrain followed up its winning of its first-ever Olympics medal at the London 2012 Games by picking up in Rio its first-ever gold and silver medals, with Kenya-born Ruth Jebet winning gold in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase.

Ruth Jebet
(Ruth Jebet / AFP)

Another Kenyan-born Bahraini competitor, Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa, came second in the women’s marathon and secured a silver medal. 

 Eunice Jepkirui
(Eunice Jepkirui / AFP)

How women made history

Egypt: Sara Ahmed made history as the first Arab woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal. She lifted 112kg in the snatch and 143kg in the clean and jerk. She then broke into tears and sobbed.

The 18-year-old is also Egypt's first female medalist in the country's 104-year-history of participation at the Games and the country's first weightlifting medallist since 1948.

Sara Ahmed
(Sara Ahmed / AFP)

Egyptian Doaa el-Ghobashy also made international headlines by becoming the first volleyball player to wear a hijab at the Olympics.

Doaa el-Ghobashy
(Doaa Elghobashy / AFP)

Iran: Another teenager, Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, 18, made history when she won bronze in the taekwondo, making her the first Iranian woman to collect a medal.

Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin
(Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin / AFP)

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia also celebrated an Olympic breakthrough with Kariman Abuljadayel becoming the first woman from the country to participate in the 100m sprint.

Kariman Abuljadayel
(Kariman Abuljadayel / AFP)

Sarah Attar, who in 2012 became the first Saudi woman to ever represent her country at the Olympics, also took part in the marathon.

Sarah Attar
(Sarah Attar / AFP)

Tunisia: Tunisia enjoyed double success, with Ines Boubakri and Marwa Amri becoming the first-ever African women to pick up medals in fencing and wrestling.

Boubakri won the bronze medal in fencing by beating Russia’s Aida Shanayeva.

Ines Boubakri
(Ines Boubakri / AFP)

Amri defeated Azerbaijan’s Yuliya Ratkevich to win bronze medal in the women’s freestyle 58kg.

Marwa Amri
(Marwa Amri / AFP)

Palestine takes part in the equestrian event for the first time

Palestine was represented in the Olympic equestrian event for the first time by a 54-year-old German businessman, Christian Zimmerman, who reminded everyone you don't need to win gold to be the first at something in the games. 

Christian Zimmerman
(Christian Zimmerman / AFP)