Saudi Arabia threatens to drop Olympics

July 27, 2012 at 12:36 PM   |   Comments

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LONDON, July 27 (UPI) -- The International Olympic Committee said it is working to prevent Saudi Arabia from dropping out of the Olympic Games over a female judo athlete's headscarf.

The IOC said it will meet with Saudi Arabia national Olympic committee officials, London 2012 Olympic organizers and the International Judo Federation after the country threatened to drop out of the games unless Wujdan Shahrkhani is allowed to wear her headscarf while competing, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

"Yes we have heard that the Saudis are not happy and we will have an urgent meeting, certainly in the next two days," an IOC representative said.

Saudi Arabia ended months of controversy about a lack of female athletes a few weeks ago by announcing Shahrkhani would compete in judo and Sarah Attar would compete in track and field. However, those plans were put into question Thursday when the International Judo Federation said Shahrkhani would not be allowed to wear her headscarf during the competition.

Federation president Marius Vizer said that the decision resulted from safety concerns and "the principles and spirit of judo."

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