Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Will Saudi Arabia send women to London2012?

Saudi Arabia will send women to the Olympics or should that be may send? Depending on which newspaper you read Saudi's female athletes have had a life-changing week ... or not. 

The LA Times carefully reports: "A month before the London Games, Saudi Arabia appears to be moving closer to sending female athletes to the Olympics for the first time amid mounting pressure on the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom to grant women more rights." But closer to home the Irish Times baldly states: "Saudi Arabia will allow its women athletes to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time ever in London this summer, the Islamic kingdom’s London embassy said on its website." 

And what do I think? They have cleverly left the decision so late that with just 31 days to go it is unlikely any athlete will make the qualifying time. Sure if you have been training at elite level you could still do it - but considering the situation how many Saudi women were ? And how many qualifying events are even left? 

Dalma Rushdi Malhas on Flash Top Hat at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
Photograph: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images
A number of papers including the two mentioned here talk about show jumper Dalma Rushdi Malhas as a possible competitor. But late last night the Guardian reported a serious injury to Rushdie Malhas'  horse Caramell KS.

So it looks like more likely we will first see women competing for Saudi Arabia at the Rio 2016 Games, assuming nothing else changes in the meantime.

What do you think? 


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