Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Saudi Arabia's First Female Olympians" by Joboy Quintos

This is historic. Saudi Arabia will be sending two female athletes to the London Olympics. The oil-rich Middle Eastern kingdom was the last to heed the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) moves to end sexual discrimination in sport, following Qatar and Brunei. Judoka Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and middle distance runner Sarah Attar will the first Saudi female Olympians.

Early this month, reports surfaced that the U.S.-born equestrienne Dalma Rushdi Malhas will be London-bound. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) clarified the rumors. It turns out that Malhas' horse sustained an injury, ruling her out of the London Olympics.

Although this is a groundbreaking move, the fact still remains that the rights of women in hardline Saudi Arabia are not at par with that of the more liberalized nations.

On a wider perspective, the statistics look promising. The IOC, according to a CNN report, noted the gradual rise in female participation in the Olympics through the years. The first time London hosted the quadrennial event in 1908, women comprised 1.8% of all athletes. The percentage rose to 9.5% in 1948 and, most recently, 42% in Beijing.

Article by Joboy Quintos