London Olympics: Saudi Female Athletes to compete

Channels Television  
Updated July 12, 2012

Much against its earlier stand of not sending female athletes to the Olympics taking place in London this year, the kingdom has decided to send its female athletes for the first time which will have a judoka,800m runner later this month and this information has been confirmed by the International Olympic Committee.

Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani one of the females to represent Saudi Arabia will be competing in the +78kg category in judo.

Sarah Attar on the other hand will be glad to be the first ever woman to represent Saudi Arabia in a game of this nature after talks between the Kingdom and the IOC yielded positive result.

According to Sarah, the news is an appreciable one and she couldn’t hide her delight and so is the IOC as the body said it can’t wait to welcome these girls to London.

Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee made the decision to allow the females compete in London and it means the country will have male and female representatives in a game that will commence in a few weeks time.

In 1996 precisely the Atlanta Games, 26 nations failed to send female athletes with the figure gradually going down to just three at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Female participation in sports has long been a controversial issue in Saudi Arabia, where powerful clerics denounce women for exercising, saying it goes against their nature.

Attar, 17, said she was honored by the prospect of competing for her country at London 2012.

The conservative Muslim kingdom is one of the three countries, alongside Brunei and Qatar, never to have sent female athletes but the latter two confirmed earlier this year that their delegation would include women.

Brunei has entered Maziah Mahusin (athletics), while Qatar has entered Nada Arkaji (swimming), Noor Al-Malki (athletics), Aya Magdy (table tennis) and Bahiya Al-Hamad (shooting), who will also be her country’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

The IOC said the two Saudi athletes, invited by the IOC, were entered by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee by the official deadline of 9 July.