The announcement that Saudi women would be able to participate in the forthcoming Summer Olympic Games in London raised spirits both in Saudi Arabia and abroad. Now, the Saudi Olympic Committee is ‘clarifying’ its stance. Women can go, but the Committee won’t be sending them: they’ll have to make arrangements for themselves.

That’s a tad churlish. I think the least the government could do – while still keeping its head down to prevent it from getting knocked by the troglodytes who think ‘women’ and ‘sports’ don’t belong in the same sentence – would be to offer to handle the applications and paperwork for entry. It might even offer discounted, if not free airfare. Instead, a wave of cowardice has swept the Saudi Olympic Committee. Perhaps some male Saudi Olympians might want to help out their sisters.

And rather than ‘slowly open the door’, this particular door needs to be kicked in. Every year that goes by without Saudi women being able to participate in school athletics and sports is another year in which their health is undermined.

Female athletes’London dreams shattered ? No,not really, say Saudi women
Laura Bashraheel | Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – The announcement that the Kingdom will not prevent its female citizens from competing in the Olympics, but will not officially endorse them has evoked mixed reaction from Saudi women.

Prince Nawaf Bin Faisal, head of the Saudi Olympics Committee and President of the General Presidency of Youth Welfare, said at a press conference Wednesday that Saudi Arabia will not officially send women athletes to the London Olympics this summer.

He, however, said that Saudi women taking part on their own are free to do so and the Kingdom’s Olympic authority would “only help in ensuring that their participation does not violate the Shariah law.”

Welcoming the decision, Razan Baker, a sports journalist and a PhD researcher, said it would slowly open the door for society to accept women participation in sports.

April:06:2012 - 08:05 | Comments & Trackbacks (5) | Permalink
5 Responses to ““Sure! But…””
  1. 1
    Jerry M Said:
    April:06:2012 - 15:54 

    A sad story. Basically they are saying to the people who run the Olympics “we are integrating” but to those in Saudi Arabia they are saying “don’t worry it is business as usual”.

    I am assuming you meant to says something like ‘women’ and ‘sports’ don’t belong in the same sentence.

  2. 2
    John Burgess Said:
    April:06:2012 - 20:09 

    @Jerry M: I did indeed. Thanks.

  3. 3
    dan Said:
    April:07:2012 - 06:14 

    I may be wrong about this, but competitors at the Olympics compete as part of a team that is organised by the Olympic Committee of each participating nation. I think the IOC does have mechanisms for special cases, but these have only ever been invoked in situations when a national OC has collapsed due to civil war.

    If the Saudi Olympic committee isn’t sending any women athletes as part of their team, then there aren’t going to be any women athletes representing Saudi Arabia at the games, because it remains national policy to prevent women from participating in competitive sporting activity.

    Basically, an exercise in semantics.

  4. 4
    Jerry M Said:
    April:07:2012 - 09:27 

    What is sad is not that Saudi women won’t have a chance at medals. Excercise for women is a good thing and a real women’s olympics program could help start excercise progams which would reach all people in Saudi Arabia. Giving a few Saudi women who are living outside the country the right to call themselves part of the olympics team is not even a first step.

  5. 5
    ratherdashing Said:
    April:08:2012 - 11:33 

    “Prince Nawaf Bin Faisal, head of the Saudi Olympics Committee and President of the General Presidency of Youth Welfare”

    should read …

    “Prince Nawaf Bin Faisal, head of the Saudi Olympics Committee and President of the General Presidency of Male Youth Welfare”

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