Palestine at the 2012 Summer Olympics

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Palestine at the
2012 Summer Olympics
Flag of Palestine.svg
IOC code PLE
NOC Palestine Olympic Committee
Website (in Arabic)
in London
Competitors 5 in 3 sports
Flag bearer Maher Abu Remeleh (opening)
Woroud Sawalha (closing)
Summer Olympics appearances (overview)

Palestine competed at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, from 27 July to 12 August 2012. This was the nation's fifth consecutive appearance at the summer games.

Five Palestinian athletes were selected to the team, competing only in athletics, judo, and swimming. Four of them were granted a wild card entry to participate in these Olympic games, without having qualified. Judoka Maher Abu Remeleh, was Palestine's only qualifying athlete, and the first to qualify for the games in the nation's history.[1] Abu Remeleh became the nation's flag bearer at the opening ceremony. Palestine, whose athletes have been allowed to compete under its flag by the International Olympic Committee only since 1996, has yet to win its first ever Olympic medal.


Palestine selected 2 athletes by a wildcard.

  • Note–Ranks given for track events are within the athlete's heat only
  • Q = Qualified for the next round
  • q = Qualified for the next round as a fastest loser or, in field events, by position without achieving the qualifying target
  • NR = National record
  • N/A = Round not applicable for the event
  • Bye = Athlete not required to compete in round

Athlete Event Heat Semifinal Final
Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank
Bahaa Al Farra 400 m 49.93 8 Did not advance
Athlete Event Heat Semifinal Final
Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank
Woroud Sawalha 800 m 2:29.16 8 Did not advance


Palestine qualified 1 judoka.[2]

Athlete Event Round of 64 Round of 32 Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Repechage Final / BM
Maher Abu Remeleh Men's −73 kg Bye  van Tichelt (BEL)
L 0000–0100
Did not advance


Palestine gained two "Universality places" from the FINA.[3]

Athlete Event Heat Final
Time Rank Time Rank
Ahmed Gebrel 400 m freestyle 4:08.51 27 Did not advance
Athlete Event Heat Semifinal Final
Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank
Sabine Hazboun 50 m freestyle 28.28 51 Did not advance

Difficulties and controversy

Training difficulties

The six athletes competing for Palestine at the 2012 games faced distinct disadvantages. Most basically, they lacked the proper means by which to prepare.[4] As Hani Halabi, head of the 2012 Palestinian delegation, explains that his athletes have "no facilities, no coach, no moving for the player from town to town – from Jerusalem to Ramallah, from Ramallah to Bethlehem".[5] In fact, the first time all the members of the Palestinian delegation were together was upon arrival at Heathrow airport in London. Despite these hardships, when the head of the Israeli delegation offered joint facilities and staff to the Palestinians, Halabi refused. "We are in occupation," he says. Rather than the Olympics being a place of peace and reconciliation - where people set aside their differences and compete "for the love of the game" - Halibi believed Palestine's participation in the games would "bring the conflict with Israel into sharper relief".[5]

Moment of silence proposal

Ankie Spitzer, wife of 1972 Munich Massacre victim Andrei Spitzer, has requested prior to every Olympic games since those of 1972 that the International Olympic Committee hold a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies to remember the eleven victims of the massacre. However, the IOC has denied all of these requests. As the London 2012 games would be the 40th anniversary of the Munich tragedy, Spitzer spearheaded an online petition for a moment of silence during the games' opening ceremonies, which garnered over 100,000 signatures. Again, however, the IOC denied the request, committee chairman Jacques Rogge affording that "the Opening Ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident".[6] While many, including members of Olympic Committee of Israel, accused Rogge and the IOC of being insensitive, Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation, sent a letter to Chairman Rogge thanking him for denying the moment of silence proposal.[7] "Sports is a bridge for love, connection and relaying peace between peoples. It should not be a factor for separation and spreading racism between peoples," Rajoub wrote. A senior official of the Palestinian Authority corroborated Rajoub's letter to the IOC, expressing Palestine's opposition to "Israel’s attempts to exploit the Olympic Games for propaganda purposes".[7]

See also


  1. ^ Wertheim, Jon. "Abu Rmeileh becomes first Palestinian to qualify for Olympics". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Judo Qualification" (PDF). IJF. 9 May 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  3. ^ "FINA Universality Places" (PDF). FINA. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  4. ^ Barzak, Ibrahim. "Despite hardships, Palestinians train for Olympics". ESPN. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  5. ^ a b Sales, Ben. "Palestinian Olympic participation brings conflict to the fore". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  6. ^ Greene, Richard Allen. "Olympics head rejects silence for Israeli victims". CNN. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  7. ^ a b Abu Toameh, Khaled. "PA thanks IOC for refusing Munich victims memorial". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
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