Monday, June 25, 2012

Saudi Arabia relents

Saudi Arabia announced today that it will allow female athletes to compete in the Olympics under the Saudi flag (i.e. not invited by the IOC and under their "neutral" flag).
The press about the decision contains a lot of platitudes from Saudi representatives about the spirit of the games. No word on which women will be there; Saudi officials have said they will allow any woman who qualifies to attend. Unfortunately given the lack of support (to put it mildly) for female athletes in Saudi Arabia, not many women meet Olympic qualifying standards. The IOC is likely to make exceptions just to get Saudi women to London this year.
More of a sure thing is equestrian Dalma Rushdi Malhas who is a Saudi citizen who was born in the United States.
There were no given reasons for the change of heart by Saudi administrators. The IOC had been working with government officials since the spring and kept reporting "progress," but in April the Saudis announced they would not be sending female athletes to London.
I wonder if the IOC threatened to ban the entire Saudi team if this decision was not reconsidered...


pilight said...

Malhas will not be competing in London

ken said...

Interesting. Thanks for letting me know.

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