Although the Middle Eastern region may not be popular worldwide as a home for talented athletes, it has recently produced some exceptional athletes who have made a name for themselves in various sports. From football to tennis, athletics to martial arts, these athletes have overcome countless obstacles to achieve success.
Record-Breaking Athletes Who Dominate Their Sports
We think it’s worth celebrating the accomplishments of some of the best Middle Eastern athletes to help them reach the global public of sports followers. Some of the names on the list of the 10 best Arab sports people are well known outside the region – they don’t need any introduction – while others might sound new to the worldwide public. However, you will learn about their role, career, and sports achievements. Without any delay, let us dive into the top 10 names in sports from the Arab World at this moment;
- Mohamed Salah, Egypt
Winger for Liverpool FC in England’s Premier League, Mohamed Salah is one of the most remarkable record-breakers in football history: he’s currently leading the top ranking for scoring 32 goals in only 36 games, the highest number of goals in a 38-game Premier League season. Today, Salah is the fifth highest-paid football player in the world, accounting for about $41 million, but his life originated in a dusty poor quarter in Egypt, where he first learned to play soccer with his friends. Salah is still devoted to his hometown, as his recent donations to local schools and hospitals can show. His warm heart and faithful love for his country make Egyptians deeply proud of him as a man before a soccer champion.
- Yusra Mardini, Syria
She competed for the first refugee team in Brazil in the 2016 Olympics. Swimmer Yusra Mardini, who was 18 years old, didn’t go unnoticed as she won a 100m butterfly heat with an excellent time of 1:09.21. Yusra used to represent Syria in official competitions, but the civil war forced her to find a way for her career outside Syria. She traveled with her sister through Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece to boat with other migrants to reach Europe. As the boat had an engine failure in the Aegean Sea, the two sisters and a few more people who could swim jumped into the water and pushed the boat for three hours until their reached Lesbos. After that, the two girls continued to Germany, where her family reunited. Yusra’s courage also inspired a story in the short-story collection “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls”.
- Abdel Nader, Egypt
He was only 11 years old when his family moved to the US, where he joined the Niles North Vikings, his high school basketball team. He scored remarkable results by achieving 23.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in his senior season. Abdel continued playing basketball at the university until he joined the Phoenix Suns, becoming the second Egyptian-born player in the history of the NBA. Among his best achievements, he played all 24 games per season, earning 6.7 points per game, 2.6 rebounds per game, and 49.1% shooting from the field. Abdel received a call from the Egypt national basketball team. He recently announced his debut at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
- Ons Jabeur, Tunisia
Tennis star Ons Jabeur debuted as a young player at three years old. Ons started under her mom’s influence, who was an occasional tennis player. At 17, Ons participated in the 2011 junior slam, which launched her career straight forward to winning the singles title in the WTA in Birmingham in June 2021. She entered the ranking of the world’s top 10 female players and became the first Arab woman to play in the fourth round of the French Open in the Roland Garros Tennis Championship. Her numerous achievements get her on the podium of the best Arab women’s tennis players ever.
- Riyad Mahrez, Algeria
Son of an Algerian football player, Riyad was born in France, where he started playing soccer with fellow teammates like Wissam Ben Yedder. In his early career, Riyad developed ball skills that got him a call to join AAS Sarcelles in 2004. Five years later, he joined CFA and then Le Havre. He received offers from relevant teams like Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, but he refused both deals but accepted to join Leicester City. In 2018, Riyad joined Manchester United with a three-year contract of $81.8 million until 2023, marking history for receiving the highest transfer deal for an Arab player. Mahrez is today’s most valuable Arab player, worth $48.7 million in the market.
The Middle East has much to offer to the sports world. It would be significant to discover its new talents and follow their performances on recommended online Arab sports platforms.