- Rowing: Sophie Hosking announces retirementPosted 27 mins ago
- Paralympics: GB team named for IPC World Athletics ChampionshipsPosted 2 hours ago
- Football: England Women visit Burton SchoolsPosted 2 hours ago
London 2012: Saudi Arabian female athletes to compete for first time
The International Olympics Committee has announced that two female athletes from Saudi Arabia will compete in the 2012 Games.
Last month, the Saudi Authorities removed a ban which prevented women from the Gulf Kingdom competing in the Olympics. This means that for the first time in the history of the Games, female entrants from every competing nation will take part.
Sarah Attar will take part in the 800m, while Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani will compete in the Judo competition, despite the fact that many Saudi religious conservatives remain extremely opposed to the public participation of women in sport.
Attar commented: “It’s such a huge honour and I hope that it can really make some big strides for women over there to get more involved in sport.”
Female participation in sport in Saudi Arabia is extremely rare and officials struggled to find athletes that met Olympic criteria. The IOC is keen to ensure that there is ‘gender balance’ at London 2012 however and this year’s Games will see women from both Quatar and Brunei also taking part for the first time.
Maziah Mahusin from Brunei will compete in the athletics, while Quatar’s female athletes will appear in the swimming, athletics, table tennis and shooting events.
Officials have stated that female athletes will have to dress in order ‘to preserve their dignity’, by wearing loose-fitting garments and scarves to cover their hair.
Sophia Smith, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine