Saturday, August 26, 2017

Cross Country Sports in Mandate Palestine

      Cross country sport in Palestine was popular among British military men and officials. Cross country championship in Palestine started in 1933.  As documents show, in general, this sport became popular in early 1940s until 1947. However, reports were rare and insufficient to provide details about this sport.

The First Annual YMCA - Jerusalem Cross Country Championship was held in 1930. In July 1931 the Jerusalem YMCA had hosted the Second Annual YMCA Cross Country Championship for Palestine in which 107 competitors took part. The army, police, Arab Sports Club, Hapoel, Bishop Gobat’s School (St. George’s School), Jerusalem Sports Club, Orthodox Sports Club, Post and Telegraph (a corporate team), and the District Police all participated.


  In August 1941, Palestine Post reported about cross country: The eight annual Open Palestine Cross Country Championship, inaugurated and sponsored by the Jerusalem Y.M.C.A., will take place on Saturday, September 27, over the usual course in Jerusalem. The Championship is open to all bona fide organizations, clubs, associations, Government Institutions, schools, and Army, Royal Air Force and Police teams. Teams will consist of no less than five and mo more than eight runners. Only the first five runners in each team will count for point placings.[i]

    It also reported that “Placing five men in the first 14, the Palestine Police had little difficulty in retaining the Palestine Cross Country Championship, which was run off yesterday afternoon, and once again took the "Keith Roach" Challenge Cup. The first man home was Macoy of the Royal Air Force, who when in England runs for the Aylesford Paper Mills. Mocoy's time for the five miles course was 23 min. 13.5 sec., which was well outside Scanlon's record time of 23 sec.” [ii]

   In May 1947, (Arab) Palestine Sports Federation (established in 1931 and re-established in 1944) held a competition in 8-km cross country where 26 athletes from the cities around Palestine took part. The committee was made of Livon Kishishian, Khair Eddin Abu Jibin (editor of in Al-Difa's sports column), Ibrahim Nuseibeh, Rock Farraj and Subhi Farah. Al-Difa' stated that the competition started at 4pm. The competitors passed Jamal Pasha street, then the city square, Nuzha street, Mustashfa (hospital) street, Hulwa, and ended at Youth Beach. From there they returned until they reach the Bassa stadium where fans were waiting for them on both sides of the road. Two cars and ambulance accompanied them. [iii]


[i]Palestine Post, 21 August 1941

[ii] Palestine Post, 10 September 1944.

[iii] Al-Difa', 19 May 1947.

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