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Olympics: Mehram, Islamic outfit a must for Saudi sportswomen.

Sarah Attar

JEDDAH: The General Authority for Sports (GAS) has made it mandatory for Saudi women who are gearing up for the 2016 Rio Olympics to wear Shariah-compliant outfits during the games. They will also have to be accompanied by mehram (close male relative) during their tour, it said. The Saudi Olympic Committee has urged its international counterparts to exclude Saudi sportswomen from the usual sports outfits. Prince Abdullah bin Musaed bin Abdulaziz, president of GAS and chairman of Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAC), will head the Saudi delegation for the Olympics. The games will kick off Friday and continue through Aug. 21. The Saudi teams will participate in athletics, shooting, judo, weightlifting and fencing. With dreams beyond limits, four Saudi sportswomen will be vying for medals, marathon runner Sarah Attar in the lead, along with Lubna Al-Omair (fencing), sprinter Cariman Abu Al-Jadail, who will take part in the 100m dash, and judoka Wujud Fahmi, who will compete in the 52 kg category. Fahmi achieved the first position in the winter championship in the US in March. This is the first time four sportswomen are representing the Kingdom out of the total 11 sportspersons. A decision made a few years ago makes it mandatory for all national olympic committees to send at least one female player in compliance with the Olympic Charter. Sprinter Dalma Malhas registered her name for international games, the first Youth Olympics held in Singapore in 2010 and was the first Gulf woman to win the bronze medal in the individual category. Saudi women participated in the London Olympics in 2012. Hosam Al-Qurashi, executive director of the SAC, said in a statement that the Saudi participation comes this time based on specific vision put in place by the supervisors of Saudi sports bodies. "The SAC has provided technical and administrative support for the sports bodies. We have great hopes to win Olympic medals and raise the Saudi flag high on the podium," he added. The seven Saudi men who will participate in the games are athletes Tareq Al-Omari and Mukhlid Alotaibi (5,000 meters) and Abdullah Abu Bakr (100 and 200 meters), Sultan Daoudi (discus), Attalah Al-Enzi (10m shooting), Suleiman Hammad (judo) and Mohsen Aldahailb (weightlifting).

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Aug 5, 2016
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