Though many of us are familiar with Gaza in the context of the Israeli siege and destructive wars, there is another side of the Gaza Strip that is mostly known to its inhabitants.
Despite the hardship, Gaza is full of life. Sports competitions are rife and even arm wrestling is a popular sport in Gaza. In the photos below, Palestinian athletes from various age groups compete in arm wrestling matches in Zahra City in the southern part of Gaza.
Despite the energy, frustration, and loud screams, friendly competitions define the tournament from start to finish.
The Palestine Chronicle spoke to Laith Shehadeh, the head of the Media Committee of the Palestinian Arm Wrestling Federation, and local champion from the Gaza Strip, with several gold medals to his name:
“Arm wrestling began in Palestine in 1993, in Gaza, and it is one of the most popular individual sports in the Strip,” Shehadeh said.
“Today, we are organizing a special tournament for young people from the age of sixteen to twenty-one years old, along with a tournament for the elderly, the first of its kind,” he added.
According to Shehadeh, “Athletes are extremely competitive, especially in the seniors’ competition.”
The audience was thrilled by the final matches being held in Gaza.
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)