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4th Islamic Solidarity Games Underway In Baku

By Nargiz Mammadli May 12, 2017

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The fourth Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku brought together about 6,000 athletes from 63 countries. / Baku 2017

The opening ceremony for the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games will take place tonight in Azerbaijan’s capital city, Baku, where more than 6,000 athletes from 63 Muslim-majority countries around the world are competing in 21 different sports.

The games, known as the “Muslim Olympics,” run from May 8 – 22 and feature men’s and women’s events in summer Olympic sports such as basketball, swimming, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, handball, weightlifting, and wrestling. Sports unique to the Islamic Solidarity games are also included, like physical and mental exercises for men traditional to ancient Persia, called zurkhaneh.

The games technically opened earlier this week, starting with football (soccer) matches on Monday, followed by handball competitions on Tuesday and volleyball on Thursday.

Thursday’s football game between Oman and Turkey ended with a victory for Oman, whose football players beat their rivals 3:2.  On the same day, Cameroon tied with Morocco 1:1.

The Saudi Arabian men’s handball team defeated Pakistan 26:25, making it to the semi-finals. Azerbaijan’s women’s handball team also reached the semi-finals, after defeating Turkey 27:22 on Thursday.

The two-hour opening ceremony for the games will be held at Baku National Stadium and begin at 9:00 p.m. local time, and features over 2,000 local volunteer performers.

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The football match between Oman and Turkey held within the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. / AZERTAC