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Sports in Lebanon


Both summer and winter sports thrive in Lebanon because of the unique geography. In autumn and spring, for example, it is possible to go skiing in the morning and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in the afternoon. At the competitive level, basketball and football are among Lebanon’s most popular sports. In recent years, Lebanon has hosted the AFC Asian Cup and the Pan Arab Games.


Lebanon has six ski resorts, with opportunities also available for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. In the summer, skilifts can be used to access hiking trails, with views stretching as far as Cyprus to the west and Syria to the east on clear days. Canoeing, cycling, rafting, climbing, swimming, sailing and caving are among the other common leisure sports in Lebanon. Adventure and extreme sports are also possible throughout the country. The Beirut Marathon is held every fall, drawing top runners from Lebanon and abroad. Race day is promoted as a fun, family event, and it has become a tradition for many to participate in costumes or outlandish clothing.


But the most important of sports, and the most popular in Lebanon is Basketball, as the Lebanese National Team prevailed to qualify for the FIBA World Championship 3 times in a row. Considered as one of the basketball power houses in Asia, Lebanon was able to defeat strong teams like Venezuela and shell-shock France in what was considered to be the upset of the tournament, throwing an amazing encounter proving to be one of the most competitive teams. Dominant Basketball teams in Lebanon are Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut, who are the Arab champions, Club Sagesse who were able to earn the Asian and Arab championships before, along with Champville SC, Al Mouttahed Tripoli, and Hoops Club.


Dance is also a popular activity in Lebanon that may fall under the category of 'sports'.


Lebanon hosted the 2009 Jeux de la Francophonie from 27 September to 6 October.


Prominent Lebanese bodybuilders include Samir Bannout, Mohammad Bannout and Ahmad Haidar.


Rugby league has enjoyed growth in Lebanon with a seven team domestic competition. An international team made up of domestic players recently played a two match tour in Dubai. The Lebanon national rugby league team has recently taken part in the 2009 European Cup. After narrowly failing to qualify for the final, the team defeated Ireland to finish 3rd in the tournament.


Hazem El Masri, who is the National Rugby League's all time highest points scorer, moved from Lebanon to Australia as a child and has represented Lebanon at international level, including playing at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup

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Ghassan Sarkis, the best basket ball coach that Lebanon have seen for the past years until today , very popular in Lebanon. I was very lucky to meet him by coincidence at Beirut  Int'l Airport. I learned from him that he also like photography and own a Professional Nikon DSLR camera. He gave one of his team mates my Canon 7D camera to capture this photo after i requested from him. In my personal view he's such a wonderful and simple guy.      Beirut 04/Oct/2010

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