Iran tops MidEast medal haul as London Olympics close

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

As the fireworks settled on the London 2012 Olympic Games last night, the US was crowned the biggest winner of the tournament with a haul of 104 medals.

When the totals were counted, the Middle East will take home 24 medals, with Iran topping the rankings for the region and coming in 17 with a total of 12 medals, including four gold, five silver and three bronze.

The next big regional winner was Turkey, which was ranked 32 overall and won five medals. Qatar was the biggest Gulf winner, with two bronze medals, while Afghanistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Morocco all tied for 79 place with one bronze medal each.

Click here to see the full list of Middle East winners

As the Olympic flag was handed to Eduardo Paes, Rio's mayor, before International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge described the London Games as "happy and glorious" and declared them closed - the words taken from Britain's national anthem to the queen.

As the Olympic Flame was extinguished, some of the highlights of the main stadium included Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt defending the 100, 200 and 4x100 metres titles he won in Beijing, the latter in a world-beating time.

British supporters will also cherish memories of the venue, where Somali-born runner Mo Farah won the 5,000 and 10,000 double to deafening roars and was celebrated as a symbol of the capital's multi-culturalism.

The hosts won 29 golds to take third place in the rankings, their best result for 104 years, helping lift a nation beset by severe spending cuts and worried about social stability a year after violent riots swept parts of the capital.

US President Barack Obama called British Prime Minister David Cameron to congratulate the country on what he called "an extremely successful Olympic games, which speaks to the character and spirit of our close ally".

Many will remember London 2012 for the record-breaking exploits of American swimmer Michael Phelps, who took his life-time medal haul to 22 including 18 golds, making him the most decorated Olympian in history.

His tally helped the United States to the top of the Olympic table with 46 golds to second-placed China's 38, reversing the order of the Beijing Games in 2008.

Despite concerns about the creaky transport system and a shortfall of private security guards, which forced the government to call in thousands of extra troops to help screen visitors, the Games passed by fairly trouble-free.

A furore over empty seats at several Olympic venues blew over, especially once the track and field showcase kicked in and drew capacity crowds for virtually every session.

Click here to see the full list of Middle East winners

Even the weather improved as the Games wore on. Bright sunshine graced the closing weekend of a festival that has helped to lift spirits in Britain.

It was not all about triumph, however. Many tears shed by athletes and the public were of sorrow, not joy, as medals were narrowly missed and controversial decisions left athletes convinced they were wronged.

At the closing ceremony, a highlights video reel included images of South Korea's Shin A Lam alone and distraught on the fencing piste after a timekeeping error contributed to her defeat in an epee semi-final.

China's hero Liu Xiang suffered heartache again after crashing into the first barrier of the 110 sprint hurdles four years after he withdrew from the heats in Beijing due to injury.

Eight Asian badminton players were controversially expelled from the Games after not trying hard enough to win matches, having broken the spirit, but not the rules of their sport.

And China bowed out of the Games with a swipe at the critics who accused teenage swimming sensation Ye Shiwen of doping after her times rivalled the top U.S. men.

Aged just 16, Ye set a world record, a Games record and won two gold medals in the women's individual medleys, but her victories were overshadowed by questions and insinuations of cheating. There was no evidence that she had broken any rules.

The head of the Chinese delegation to London, Liu Peng, said the accusations were totally unfounded.

"This is really unfair. This is groundless," Liu told a news conference on Sunday. "There are individuals and media that are accusing, unfounded, our Chinese athletes."

* With Reuters

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Posted by: Ali

Why don't you include on your Article, Algeria who won a Gold on the 1500m (only Gold Medal of Arab World...) and Tunisia who won a a Silver and Bronze. You did include Morocco so no reason why those two shouldn't...

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