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From the sidelines
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 07 - 07 - 2005

Football gold
ALTHOUGH it was by a bare minimum, the Spanish football team added the final golden touch for Spain by putting up its best performance at the Mediterranean Games. The spectators at the stadium cheered their team on during this last event on the sports programme, which served as a prologue to the closing ceremony.
Santiesteban's boys were ahead on the scoreboard from the fifth minute of the match against Turkey, which had tied with Spain in the preliminaries. By the last day of the games, the Spaniards knew they could no longer afford to make mistakes. And when they finally struck gold, the last anthem to be played at the games was that of the host country.
For its part, Libya was awarded the bronze medal despite starting its final match by losing one-nil, due to an early goal by the Moroccan forward Souari. The Moroccan advantage was neutralized by Libya in the extra time of the second half after the intervention of the Libyan coach Almabrouk. With the scoreboard marking 1-1, the match came to a close and the Libyan's penalty superiority gave them the bronze. After a 1-1 final, the Libyans win 4-3 with a goal scored from the 11- metre line
Magnificent games
THE CLOSING ceremony marked the end of the Mediterranean Games that have received the unanimous approval of the press, the public and the members of ICMG. In his final appearance, President Amar Addadi highlighted, "They have been magnificent games. The Almerian flame will light up the Mediterranean forever. Together we have written a very heart-warming page in Mediterranean Games history. Together we have lived some very intense moments of excitement, friendship and solidarity."
In his closing speech, president of COJMA Juan Megino pointed out that "they have been 10 intense days, days in which the Almerians have done themselves proud and become the real stars of a long-awaited party, to which we now bid farewell with tears of happiness and pain to think that the best stage in Almerian history now leaves us behind."
The passing of the Mediterranean flag from the mayor of Almeria Luis Rogelio Rodrguez Comendador to the mayor of Pescara Luciano D'Alfonso, guaranteed the continuity of the Mediterranean Games that, in Almeria, have been at their best.
Italian Pescara to host 2009 Mediterranean Games
THE DIRECTORS of the Organising Committee of Pescara 2009 have announced today in a press conference that they have begun talks with the Olympic committees of Israel and Palestine to include them in the next Mediterranean Games. President Sabatino Arracu also explained that the sports programme will include speed roller-skating.
The Italian delegation, which includes D'Alfonso and the vice-president of COJM Enrico Paolini, highlighted the high quality of organisation of Almeria 2005. They offered particular praise for the Mediterranean Village, which Arracu classified as an "authentic Olympic Village. Pescara will have a hard time matching such a village."
The Italian representative stated that his delegation came to Almer�a "to learn and attempt to improve upon our project. We want to organise the best games in history, not to say that we are the best, but each host has the obligation to improve upon the previous games".
D'Alfonso, who met with Mayor of Almeria Rodr�guez Comendador pointed out that the two cities share many common characteristics, amongst which he mentioned ambition and spirit. The Italian delegation also announced its intention to organise seminars in Pescara at the end of the year in order to take advantage of the Almeria 2005 experience.
A Spanish Final
THE WATER polo final, held in the pool of Las Almadrabillas, finished with a victory for Spain against the Italian team by nine to seven. Except for the start of the game, which was controlled by Italy, Spain dominated much of the match. It was a difficult match for Rafa Aguilar's team, but they soaked up the pressure from the Italians to take first place on the podium. In the battle for the bronze medal, the Serbian team beat Croatia with a final score of 8-9.
Athletics Champions
THE FRENCH delegation was the grand champion of athletics in the XV Mediterranean Games held in Almeria by winning 30 medals -- 10 gold, 13 silver and seven bronze. Spain, which was victorious in the last two races of the day (4x400 metres men's and women's), came second on the medal table with a total of 26 medals -- nine gold, eleven silver and six bronze --, a new record for Spanish athletics in this competition. Italy, which had led Spain until the very last day, was overtaken and bumped into third position. It finished the games with a total of 23 medals -- seven gold, eight silver and eight bronze.
Golden Turkey
TURKEY took the gold medal in women's volleyball. After an intense final against Greece, the Turks became the best Mediterranean team. Both teams, which were in the same group as Spain, played to a very high standard throughout the course of the games. However, Turkey had the edge in the final. The two teams were very evenly matched, but the key moments highlighted Turkey's superiority. Finally, and after winning three sets by 25-22, Halil Resat's team made it to the top of the podium, passing Greece (silver) and Italy (bronze) on the way.

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