Saudi Arabia threatens to quit Olympics
Saudi Arabia has threatened to withdraw from the Olympics unless a
female judo athlete was allowed to wear her headscarf in
competition, The Telegraph reported Friday.
London: Top female judo fighters
on Tuesday backed the decision to allow
a Saudi athlete to compete at the Olympic Games wearing an Islamic
headscarf, saying it would not bother them and would be good for
Teenager Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim
Shaherkani, one of the first two Saudi women chosen to compete at
an Olympics, had threatened to pull out after the sport's
governing body said she could not compete wearing a Hijab because
it was too dangerous.
After days of deliberation, a compromise was
struck on Monday between judo chiefs, Olympic bosses and Saudis
meaning she will now take part in the women's heavyweight section
on Friday, Reuters reported.
"I think it's no problem for us, it
might be a problem for her. But I can't see why she shouldn't have
it," Slovenia's Urska Zolnir, who won gold in the women's -63kg
judo category, told reporters.
The appearance in London of Shaherkani, 16, and fellow teenage
800-metre runner Sarah Attar came after the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) pressed Saudi Arabia along with Qatar and Brunei
to end their ban on female participation.
"We all want judo to be
more democratic and it would be a good thing if more women were
allowed to practice judo," said France's Gervise Emane, the world
champion who won bronze yesterday. "So if this right has been
given to her and it allows her to do more sport, so be it."
The International Judo Federation (IJF) said last week that its
regulations forbade headgear because a fighter could be
accidentally choked during the rough, physical contests in which
strangling an opponent using their judo outfit is legal.
Saudi National Olympic Committee spokesman however on Monday said
that they had
agreed on an acceptable form of headscarf with the IOC and IJF. "I
don't think this would disturb us very much," Emane said.
would possibly be a drawback for her when competing." The IJF said
it was pleased that a solution had been found. "Working with the
IOC a proposal was approved by all parties," it said in a