The 2012 Olympic Games in London will be monumental for a variety of reason, but for one reason in particular.
It will mark the first time in Olympic history that every country will have at least one woman competing.
After Qatar and Brunei announced they would be sending women athletes to the 2012 Olympic Games for the first time in response to the International Olympic Committee’s desire to end sexual discrimination among its member nations, Saudi-Arabia was the last country to hold onto its tradition of sending men-only teams to compete in the Games.
However, in the end, the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee elected two women, judo competitor Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhanis and runner Sarah Attar, to represent their nation in London this summer.
Though the additions came after the deadline, the IOC worked closely with the cnountry in order to make these women eligible to compete.
Attar, a seventeen-year-old from Saudi Araba who has been training in the United States, will be representing Saudi Arabia in the 800-meter running event. Born in a country that does not even allow women to drive, vote, marry, go to school without permission from a male guardian, the young athlete understands the weight of what this means for women in her homeland.
A big inspiration for participating in the Olympic Games is being one of the first women for Saudi Arabia to be going. It’s such a huge honor and I hope that it can really make some big strides for women over there to get more involved in sport.
Some warn that despite the reaching this milestone, there is still much work to be done in these nations for women athletes, claiming that unless women are given more chances to participate in sports within their countries, there will continue to be little to no opportunities for women to compete in future Olympic Games.
As for this year’s games, it’s certainly a big step forward for women in these countries that are not historically afforded such opportunities, and the world will be proudly watching.