Lebanon’s women bring in 3 gold medals

Lebanon’s women bring in 3 gold medals
December 20, 2011 02:47 AMBy Kenny Laurie

BEIRUT: Lebanese sport had its most productive day yet at the Arab Games in Doha Monday with Lebanon collecting three gold medals, all of which were won by female athletes.
Lebanon’s women’s basketball team showed up their male counterparts by clinching the gold medal at the Arab Games with a 72-34 win over hosts Qatar while Gretta Taslakian won the women’s 200-meter race and Katya Bachrouche clinched her second gold medal of the games in the 400-meter freestyle.
While the women’s team managed to go through the entire championship unbeaten, Lebanon’s men have slumped to two abysmal defeats, as well as suffering the embarrassment of revoking center Sam Hoskin’s citizenship for having once played basketball in Israel. Even more embarrassingly, the Sports and Youth Ministry admitted that it knew about Hoskin’s previous appearances in Israel but chose to cover up the detail. The women’s side, however, restored some much-needed credibility to the federation thanks to the sublime performances throughout the Arab Games.
As if to highlight Lebanon’s domination and philosophy, not one single player scored in double figures against Qatar, as the team instead shared the ball, resulting in only two players on the 15-woman roster failing to score. The team managed to create 22 assists in a blinding performance of team basketball. Rebecca Akl once again set the tone for Lebanon, handing out seven assists and troubling Qatar on the defensive end with five steals.
Taslakian’s gold medal will have gone some way toward atoning for her disappointing silver medal in the 100-meter race last week. The Lebanese athlete clocked a time of 24:10, two tenths of a second slower than her personal best and national record. Taslakian has now won three of the last four gold medals available to her in the Arab Games.
Bachrouche’s second gold medal marks the swimmer’s place as the nation’s most successful athlete at the games, having won the 400-meter butterfly race Saturday. The swimmer clocked a time of 4:15.24 to win gold.
Despite the slew of wins, Lebanon still sits in 13th place in the overall medal table with 18 medals, including four golds, four silvers and 10 bronze medals. Egypt still sit at the top of the table with more than double the medals (168) of second placed Tunisia (83).
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 20, 2011, on page 15.

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