The Beirut Sports Festival, held at the Beirut Forum over the course of four days, took place in a fun and friendly atmosphere in the presence of tens of thousands of spectators, and some of the biggest names in Lebanese sports.

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From May 25th to 28th, the Beirut Sports Festival, a multi-disciplinary event, brought games, shows, and sports to the city of Beirut.

A total success

The four-day event, which was initially met by some with scepticism upon its announcement by its promoter Karim Andari, turned out to be a resounding success, both in terms of organization and public attendance, with tens of thousands in attendance. It was also a technical and entertainment success.

The festival included a wide range of activities and competitions: table tennis, mixed martial arts (MMA), zumba, taekwondo, 3×3 basketball, table soccer, drifting, fencing, kung fu (wushu), and padel. These activities and competitions took place in an atmosphere of good-natured fun, with the public attending in good spirits. Moreover, a university arm-wrestling championship – for both men and women – took place at the festival, the final of this competition was one of the most eagerly-attended events. Numerous other sporting competitions and several shows – including drifting – were supervised by the Automobile et Touring Club du Liban (ATCL). For example, the car in which Nabil “Billy” Karam was Lebanese rally champion several times, a Lancia Delta HF, took pride of place at the entrance to the Beirut Forum. A life-size model of an F1 single-seater was also on display at the ATCL stand, where visitors could play video car races on a giant screen. The festival was crowned with splendor, as numerous beauty queens from several countries visited at the invitation of the organizers. These queens honored the “queen of rallies”, Billy Karam’s Lancia Delta HF, by posing around it for a souvenir photo.

The daily presence of renowned Lebanese athletes at the festival was of particular note, such as Billy Karam, Abdo Féghali (also multiple-time Lebanese rally car champion) and Ray Bassil (Lebanese and world shooting champion – in 2016 in Nicosia, Cyprus), among others. The festival hosted a large exhibition dedicated to the practice of sports, displaying and selling various equipments (clothing, gym tools, etc.) or by-products (nutritional supplements, organic or sugar-free food, etc.), which also attracted thousands of shoppers strolling through the bays of the Beirut Forum.

A charitable objective

This event, far from being purely recreational, had a very specific charitable objective: to raise the sum of one billion Lebanese pounds, via its symbolic entrance fee of one US dollar, intended to sponsor and promote Lebanese professional athletes, who are sorely in need of help today given the difficult economic conditions that the country has been experiencing for the past three years. According to Karim Andari, the festival’s promoter, the Ministry of Youth and Sports does not currently have this staggering sum of money at its disposal to help needy athletes. For this reason, the major sporting event at the Beirut Forum aimed to fill this institutional void and take the Ministry’s place by helping athletes. Furthermore, in the interest of total transparency and honesty, Karim Andari will be disclosing all the figures relating to the event to the press and various media once the audit of the accounts has been completed: the total number of spectators over the four days of the festival, as well as the total revenue received.

This first edition of the “Beirut Sports Festival” was a total success. We look forward to seeing you again next year!