First Saudi woman competes in Olympics

Aug. 3, 2012 at 8:54 AM
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LONDON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A Saudi Arabian woman competed in the Olympics for the first time in history Friday and her competitive experience lasted 82 seconds.

Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, 16, appeared in the 78-kilogram class of judo and she was quickly defeated by Melissa Mjoica of Puerto Rico.

Nevertheless, history was made by what was scheduled to be the first of two appearances by Saudi females at these Games. Sarah Attar is entered in the 800-meter run.

Shaherkani was given a special invitation by the International Olympic Committee to compete, but the president of the international judo federation said she would have to compete without a hijab, the traditional veil worn by Muslim women to cover their hair.

She eventually wore a tight-fitting black cap.

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