Along with the athletes competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics, Arab referees are set to make us proud in the international sporting event.
With an increasing focus on sports in the Arab World, it is no surprise that several Arab officials have reached a high level of competence and proven themselves worthy of being in charge of some of the most critical matches in the sporting world.
Although not all the sports federations have revealed their lists of referees and officials for the 2016 Olympics, the following 9 Arab referees have already been chosen to officiate in Rio this August.
1. Chahinaz Bousseta, Morocco (Basketball)
The 47-year-old has been a FIBA referee for 19 years, longer than most of the referees selected for Rio 2016. She has officiated in several regional and international tournaments, such as the women’s 2015 Afro Basket tournament. Bousseta is one of two Arabs among the thirty 2016 Olympic basketball referees. Additionally, her compatriot Samir Abaakil – who refereed in London 2012 – was chosen to officiate in Serbia’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
2. Ahmed Al Balushi, Oman (Basketball)
Balushi’s appointment was based on his impressive performance in Gulf and Asian competitions last year. He will be his country’s first Olympic basketball referee and second Olympic referee after Mohamed El Mousawi, who officiated in the football tournament in Atlanta 1996, according to Azamn . The 2015 Under-16 Asian Basketball Championship referee joined FIBA thirteen years ago.
3. Taoufik Boudaya, Tunisia (Volleyball)
Boudaya is one of three Arab referees listed on the 20-strong refereeing squad for the volleyball tournament in Rio 2016. He became an international referee in 1998, and since then, Boudaya has officiated three African Championships, three World Championships and three Olympic qualification tournaments, including the volleyball qualifiers to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
4. Nasr Chaaban, Egypt (Volleyball)
Chabaan began his refereeing career in 1989 and has been an international referee since 1999. He officiated in the last ten men’s African Championships and has been involved in the Youth World Championships, World Grand Prix and World League. Chabaan was assigned to the men's FIVB World Championship and Club World Championship in 2010, and the World League final in 2012. In the 2014 World Cup, Chabaan’s near-flawless judgment was highly praised by the organizing committee and the head of referees. The 52-year-old is heading to the Olympics for the second time, after being appointed to the 2012 London Games.
5. Ibrahim Al Naama, Qatar (Volleyball)
The 51-year-old is not an Olympic first-timer, as he has already served as a referee in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games. Al Naama was appointed to his first international event in the 2007 FIVB World Cup in Japan. He has taken part in volleyball World Championships, World Cups and World Leagues.
6. Gehad Grisha, Egypt (Football)
Along with Saudi Arabia’s Fahad Al Mirdasi, Grisha has been assigned as a leading referee for the Rio 2016 men’s football tournament. Grisha will be assisted by Moroccan Redouane Achik and Sudanese Waleed Ahmed. He has been a FIFA referee since 2008 and refereed at the 2013 and 2015 African Cup of Nations, 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and 2015 U-20 World Cup. Grisha is one of the prospective referees for the 2016 World Cup that will be held in Russia.
7. Mohamed Kamel Bouaziz, Tunisia (Wrestling)
Bouaziz has been assigned as an instructor for the wrestling event in the Rio Olympics. Bouaziz previously officiated in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games. He was also involved in the 2001 and 2002 World Championships, as well as the 2002 and 2004 European Championships.
8. Noreddine Mochaffaa, Morocco (Wrestling)
Mochaffaa is one of the five appointed wrestling supervisors for Rio 2016.
9. Tamer El Sayed and Mohamed Rashed , Egypt (Handball)
The Egyptian duo is one of the fifteen pairs selected to referee at the handball event in the 2016 Olympics, to which Egypt has qualified . El Sayed and Rashed have officiated in many tournaments together, such as the women's 2016 African Olympic Qualifiers and 2014 Junior World Championship, plus the men's 2015 World Championship and 2014 African Championship.