The Mediterranean Games return to the African continent for the first time since 2001 for the 19th edition, which starts on Saturday in the Algerian city of Oran, with a contingent of around 3,400 athletes from 24 modalities.
Coming from 26 countries with contact with the Mediterranean Sea, including Portugal, which debuted four years ago in competitions held in Tarragona, Spain, the athletes will meet in Algeria’s second largest city, until July 6, the first event on land African since Tunis2001.
To achieve this, Oran had to beat precisely another Tunisian city, Sfax, in the final vote, leaving behind Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Kotor (Montenegro) as defeated candidates.
The ‘radiant city’, as it is known, will be home to a European contingent that occupies more than half of the participation list, followed by more than six hundred Africans and still almost 400 Asians, a count that includes Turkey, although from that continent there are two ‘clear’ representatives: Lebanon and Syria.
In all, there are more than five thousand athletes and coaches present, to which referees, judges, volunteers and other employees involved with the organization are added, a ‘test’ of Algerian’s ability to host major events.
The effort – the municipality of Oran alone had foreseen an investment of over 32 million euros in 2018 – is there, especially in the Organizing Committee’s ‘the apple of the eye’, the Olympic Stadium, in Belgaïd, completed in 2019 and with capacity for about 40 thousand spectators.
The complex as a whole, which includes several other infrastructures, will be the main one of more than two dozen venues, as well as the stage for the opening and closing ceremonies, hosting football, the dominant modality on Algerian soil, and the ‘ queen’, athletics, among other disciplines.
A “Mediterranean Village”, created from scratch, covers 36 hectares and has the capacity to accommodate 4,300 people, with various infrastructures for training, catering and other businesses.
Among the largest entourages, in addition to the hosts, are the selections from France, Italy, Spain or Turkey, the ‘top 4’ of the global medalist, led by far by the Italians, 13 times the first in number of podiums in each edition.
So it was in Tarragona2018, in which Portugal debuted with 24 medals, and Oran2022 is ‘on the way’ to return to Italy, for Taranto2026.
In sporting terms, the event combines modalities in which several athletes and Olympic medalists participate, as well as senior teams, with events for young people in search of affirmation, as in the case of football and water polo tournaments, aimed at under-18s, some disciplines Paralympics and sports outside the Olympic programme, such as petanque.
In 1951, the Mediterranean basin experienced the first Games in the region, in Alexandria, and in 1975 the event was attributed to Algiers, the capital of what is now the largest country in the region, and the continent, by extension, and the 10th in the world. world.
A major supplier of natural gas to Europe and holder of one of the largest oil reserves in the world, the rich culture, which mixes the Berber people with other ethnicities, was also marked by colonization by France, which invaded the territory in 1830.
A war for independence came to an end in 1962, which means that in 2022 the country celebrates 60 years since that milestone, which preceded a Civil War, between 1991 and 2002.
The protests did not cease, and in 2010 the Arab Spring also passed through here, leading to changes mainly in the electoral code, and in 2019 massive demonstrations ended up leading to the fall of then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is seeking a fifth election.
Abdelmajid Tebboune is the man at the helm of the country’s destinies and the name indicated to officially declare the Games in Radiante, a city that combines French, Ottoman, Spanish, Arab and African influences.
In 1947, philosopher and author Albert Camus, a Franco-Algerian born in Dréan, published “A Peste”, a book set in Oran and inspired by an outbreak of cholera in the city itself, which Portugal occupied twice in the 15th century, always for Few years.
Born in 1913, Camus spent many of his days in Algeria, before moving to France, playing football as a goalkeeper at the University of Algiers in the 1990s, and went so far as to say that all he knew about “morality and obligations” had learned from sport, in a country where cheerleading and social and political movements have always gone hand in hand, whether in resistance, such as the FLN team, the “independence eleven”, which made a ‘tour’ across Europe to put pressure on France, whether in the most recent protests.
Portugal, whose mission is led by the Olympic Committee of Portugal (COP), will compete for the second time in this event, which features a total of 24 disciplines and 244 events held in Oran, with Portugal present in 20 disciplines.
In Tarragona2018, in the Portuguese debut at these Games, Portugal won 24 medals, three of them gold, two in triathlon, by Melanie Santos and João Pereira, and another for the obstacle team, in equestrian, as well as eight silver and 13 bronze.
The 19th edition of the competition starts on Saturday, with the opening ceremony, and runs until July 6th.
Source: Futebol 365 – Notícias by www.futebol365.pt.
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