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Members of a Saudi female soccer team.—AP Photo
Members of a Saudi female soccer team.—AP Photo

LONDON: Olympic officials tell The Associated Press that Saudi Arabia will send female athletes to the games for the first time at the London Olympics.    

Two officials with knowledge of the decision spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Thursday because the official announcement had not yet been made.

The officials say the Saudis are sending two women to compete in judo and track and field.

The kingdom has been under pressure from the IOC and human-rights groups to end the practice of sending all-male teams.

Qatar and Brunei, two other countries that have never sent a female athlete to the Olympics, are also including women on their teams for the London Games.

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Comments (13) Closed

uthmanmalik Jul 12, 2012 04:38pm
I think at least we should give them a credit for opening up a bit. I think they all realise now that the world is changing.
Ilyas Jul 13, 2012 07:26pm
Do you see their photos wearing Hijab now?
Umer Tariq(U-T) Jul 14, 2012 10:00am
All are right in their own thinking... I think its a very bold step by the Saudi Govt, it will encourage women emancipation in that society.
Senna Jul 13, 2012 08:57pm
it creates friction and slows down athlete speed. Not wearing for just once is ok..
Riaz Murtaza Jul 12, 2012 08:21pm
Another question ! Will they be not banned in Olympics because wearing hijab ! There has been several incidents in Europe and North America muslim girls with hijab were not allowed to participate in soccer or other games ! And if the Saudi girls with hijab are allowed in London Olympics, why not in other countries ! Hijab is a muslim religious and cultural attire.
Kamran Qadri Jul 13, 2012 07:41am
These athletes will not be allowed to come in picture or associate with anyone, so they will be running on treadmills confined in hotels rooms in London where no one can picture them, only their family members will record their timings on treadmills and then compare it with an actual event at an event in London Olympics, this way it will be first Saudi women participation in olympics.
imtiaz Jul 12, 2012 02:30pm
Will these athletes be accompanied with their father, husband or brother in the games?
Burhan Jul 13, 2012 05:23am
Some improvement.
M F Azam Jul 14, 2012 02:01am
Qadri. you are more than 100% right.. Salaam to you.
soft ball plaer Jul 14, 2012 03:40am
very good thing done for the woman in saudi arabia.
ahmet abdulaziz Jul 14, 2012 07:32am
a worth commending step.
arshad Jul 14, 2012 08:41am
very good step towards the health of society but it should be under the norms and customs of islamic society.
Khan Jul 14, 2012 04:41pm
where it is menitoned no to wear hijab and regarding the modern time or changing world, the islam' instructions are till the day of Qayyama, therefore it is applicable fully today, whether we obey them ot not. Other Religions attire are fully observed during games like Sikhs why not Muslim, we should respect every religion. Mehram person must accompany the girls and they should be allowed to wear what ever clothes they wear.