Syrian sport on an international stage: evaluating the sports movement between 1970 and 2013

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Although Syria did not compete in Olympic Games between 1948 and 1970, its participation in most sport mega-events has been varied in terms of the level of participation, results, different championships and sports mega-events types since 1970. The nature of Syria's involvement in sport on the international stage reflects the nature of the institutional-culture context after the ‘Corrective Movement’ led by the late President Hafez al-Assad. This article relies on the official archive of the General Sport Federation in Syria, official International Olympic Committee publications and other material to examine the history of Syria's competitions and its results in different sports events. It is argued that Syrian competition in most regional/international games has not only been because of the social/political support represented by the Baath party but also it has been a means of reflecting the civilised and secular face of Syria and Syrians after a long period of coups in the 1950s and 1960s. This paper concludes by contending that political stability between 1970 and 2011 helped the sports movement to flourish. Even political conflicts after 2011 did not influence the desire for competition, but it was noted that the lack of security, and the increasing terrorism and political/economic sanctions, were the major barriers to Syrian sport on an international stage after the ‘Arab Spring’, which had a negative impact on the support of most sports teams and missions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1820-1830
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


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