Universality Clause Allows Saudi Women To Make Olympics Debut
Saudi Arabia will send two female athletes to the London Olympics, which means that every National Olympic Committee will be represented by women at the Games. Sarah Attar will compete in athletics 800m, while Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani will compete in judo +78kg. The decision to send the two women follows earlier confirmation by Brunei and Qatar -- the only other NOCs yet to send female athletes to the Games -- that they would also have female athletes competing at London 2012. The two Saudi athletes, invited to the Games by the IOC, were entered by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee by the official deadline of July 9. IOC President Jacques Rogge said, "The IOC has been working very closely with the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, and I am pleased to see that our continued dialogue has come to fruition" (IOC). An IOC spokesperson said that both athletes were chosen under the Olympics' "universality" clause, which allows athletes who did not meet qualifying times to compete in the Games "when their participation is deemed important for reasons of equality" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/12).