Two women athletes represent Saudi Arabia in London Olympics

Published July 13th, 2012 - 05:40 GMT

The London Olympics will be the first ever to include women athletes from every competing nation after Saudi Arabia agreed to send female athletes following protracted negotiations and heavy lobbying.

According to The Guardian, Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in judo and 800-metre runner Sarah Attar will take part in the Olympics.

Though, neither of the athletes qualified to compete in the Olympics, they received special invitations from the IOC 'based on the quality of the athletes'.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said he was 'very pleased' that Saudi Arabia had finally agreed to send female athletes.

"We've looked at the ones who are the closest to qualifying standards and these were these two athletes. That's always the bottom line in all these invitations," Rogge said.

"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," the 17-year-old Attar said.

Rights groups hailed the decision as a step forward for Saudi women, but said the fundamental problem of segregation remained firmly in place. (ANI)


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