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JanetB
08-03-2012, 10:06 PM
Not to down play any of the accomplishments of the other athlete at the games but I think that Wojdan Shahrkhani is incredibly brave and I wish there was some way for her to have won a medal. And she is only 16.

Olympics judo: Shahrkhani first Saudi Arabian woman at Games (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/19111548)


Wojdan Shahrkhani became the first Saudi Arabian woman to compete at the Olympic Games when she took part in the +78kg judo competition in London.

The 16-year-old had been in the spotlight before her event began as judo officials said she could not wear a headscarf for safety reasons.

Shahrkhani wore a tight-fitting black cap for her bout which ended quickly in defeat by Puerto Rican Melissa Mojica.

"Hopefully this is the beginning of a new era," Shahrkhani said afterwards.

"I was scared a lot, because of all the crowd," she added.

"Unfortunately, we did not win a medal, but in the future we will and I will be a star for women's participation. It was the opportunity of a lifetime."

The contest appeared to be an overwhelming experiencing for the Mecca-born teenager.

Fergus
08-03-2012, 10:11 PM
I love this from the article:


Her father, Ali, a judo referee, told The Associated Press he "cried like a baby" watching his daughter compete.
"She was happy and smiled when she finished the fight," he said. "She hugged me and said: 'Daddy, I did this.' I was so proud."

And that, to me at least, is a huge part of why the Olympics are awesome! :cheer2:

kylet3
08-03-2012, 10:18 PM
I just hope that the ultra crazy clerics leave her alone and that she isn't subject to any discrimination back home. I'm not sure that hijab will suffice for the uber loonies.

liv
08-03-2012, 10:33 PM
I read an article earlier today that said that after she was done, her bodyguard ( or some big man who accompanied her) would not allow her to answer any questions from the reporters all waiting to talk to her. I thought, oh no, they're not even allowing her to speak!! I'm glad that that wasn't true and she seems very proud of herself. Good for her. It's a step.

AragornElessar
08-03-2012, 11:57 PM
I have so much admiration for this young lady. I can't even begin to imagine what she's had to deal w/at home over just wanting pursue her dream. Just what she's had to deal w/the last few weeks would make lesser people curl up into a ball and never want to have anything to do w/anything again.

I posted an article/interview w/HRH Princess Haya of Jordan in our thread here on Olympic Royal Watching. She's in London in her capacity of the Equestrian Federation President, but talks about just what had to take place for Women in the Middle East to compete at the Olympics. She also said in the grand scheme of things, it's also a baby step, but it's a giant baby step.

It's a pretty good read and I reccomend it.

One question I have though...We're seeing in all those VISA ads the footage of Cathy Freeman from Sydney and her track suit. Cathy was covered from head to toe and that "hood" she had on looked like it was skin tight and tough to get any fingers under. Which was/is the concern of the Judo Fed w/the hijab and rightfully so I might add. I totally get why they had a problem w/it, because w/all that happens in Judo, it can be a safety concern.

But why couldn't any Middle Eastern women that compete in Judo in the future, or any competitive sport for that matter, wear something like Cathy did in Sydney under their Judo competitive clothing in the future? That way there wouldn't be any concerns about whether or not they were covered.

I felt so badly for her when I finally saw the footage. It's obvious she was terrified to do anything that might either take off the head covering or the rest of her clothing and wasn't able to really compete due to that. ITA w/kyle as well. After seeing what they came up w/to cover her head, the ultra ultra loonies will *not* be happy and in turn, I'm afraid for what might end up happening in the future at home w/this very brave young lady.

Regardless, Congratulations to Wojdan and her achievement!! Also good on the crowd in the venue for giving her a Standing Ovation!! She more than deserved it.

sk8er1964
08-04-2012, 12:07 AM
Accrording to NBC this morning, this is the first time ever that every country at the Olympics has at least one female athlete participating.

Article about the women competing from countries where they traditionally don't compete: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2183262/Olympics-2012-The-Muslim-women-overcame-odds-make-London.html

Ziggy
08-04-2012, 08:57 PM
Good for her and good for the IOC on achieving female representation in every single sport for the first time in history! :)

I really hope that her family doesn't end up harassed.

There's a very good write-up on the issue of female participation on the Saudi Arabia at the 2012 Summer Olympics Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Arabia_at_the_2012_Summer_Olympics).

Skittl1321
08-04-2012, 10:18 PM
Cathy was covered from head to toe and that "hood" she had on looked like it was skin tight and tough to get any fingers under. Which was/is the concern of the Judo Fed w/the hijab and rightfully so I might add. I totally get why they had a problem w/it, because w/all that happens in Judo, it can be a safety concern.

But why couldn't any Middle Eastern women that compete in Judo in the future, or any competitive sport for that matter, wear something like Cathy did in Sydney under their Judo competitive clothing in the future? That way there wouldn't be any concerns about whether or not they were covered.

I felt so badly for her when I finally saw the footage. It's obvious she was terrified to do anything that might either take off the head covering or the rest of her clothing and wasn't able to really compete due to that.

I think the problem with a "hood" type covering is the choke holds they do in judo. Having fabric around the neck might change the 'safety' of those holds From what I've read, it is not uncommon to choke until unconsciousness, you wouldn't want to accidentally strangle. I don't know enough about judo though to know why the standard skin-suit Muslim women in other sports wear wasn't okay but the skull cap was. That was just my first thought though.

As for her ability- I got the impression she was a fairly low level practitioner, at least as far as Olympic competition goes. She was just totally outmatched, but also incredibly overwhelmed. Like the Niger rower, except she had to compete head to head. (ETA: According to Wikipedia she has only a blue belt, and 2 years experience, while the other competitors have black belts, and likely multiple levels of black belts. From what I can tell after blue still comes purple and brown before you get a black belt, but it appears the system is not consistent between countries so I'm not sure. But it does sound like she was outmatched for sure.)

Still, I absolutely admire her. She is a ground-breaker and I hope she is very proud of what she accomplished and I hope she is able to help open the idea of sport among Saudi women. I can't believe she is only 16. When I saw pictures I thought she was almost 30.

Ziggy
08-04-2012, 11:02 PM
From the Daily Rag article about Shahrkhani:

'She had been rocked by the barbs of the country's clergy, who strongly discourage female participation in sport in any form and labelled her the 'Prostitute of the Olympics.'

Her family have been bombarded with racial abuse, according to reports, with many trying to claim Shaherkani did not represent their country.'

:(

liv
08-04-2012, 11:08 PM
Hope that's not true. Poor girl...and sad for her family. Sadly some parts of the world still have work to do to catch up.

I read that the only experience she had with judo was being trained alone by her father. If so, pretty brave to go out to the Olympics with just that experience. I'd be terrified!!!

AragornElessar
08-04-2012, 11:30 PM
Sadly liv, it's all too true.

Amazing that the area of the World that was so ahead of the rest of it when it came to literature, the sciences and the arts hundreds of years ago, is still so very far behind it when it comes to Women. You have to remember, this is a Country where Women are not allowed to drive. It's against the law.

I wish I could say I'm shocked, but I'm not. I will say this again however...

She is a very, very brave lady and I pray for her and her Family's safety on their Homecoming.

snoopy
08-04-2012, 11:47 PM
IIRC, there are 3 Saudi women. Or maybe 3 hijabed women? In any case, I hope a saudi woman eventually wins gold - because only the worst of haters are not going to want to claim an Olympic gold medalist as their own. Then if she beats an American, all the better for her PR.

Ziggy
08-05-2012, 10:43 PM
IIRC, there are 3 Saudi women. Or maybe 3 hijabed women? In any case, I hope a saudi woman eventually wins gold - because only the worst of haters are not going to want to claim an Olympic gold medalist as their own. Then if she beats an American, all the better for her PR.

There are two. One of them is Saudi-American though (living and brought up in the US).

danceronice
08-06-2012, 03:00 AM
The only reason some of these countries are allowing female athletes is the IOC will NEVER grant an Olympic host site to a country that doesn't allow females to compete. They flat-out told Qatar, who's making a strong bid, put women on your teams or don't even bother applying.

milanessa
08-06-2012, 03:08 AM
The only reason some of these countries are allowing female athletes is the IOC will NEVER grant an Olympic host site to a country that doesn't allow females to compete.

Trying to imagine Saudi Arabia hosting the Olympics. :wideeyes: Nope, it does not compute.