Saudi Woman May Withdraw From Games Over Hijab Ban

Shaherkani will withdraw from judo match if not allowed to wear headscarf
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2012 11:08 AM CDT
Saudi Arabia's athletes parade, Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, center, during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

(Newser) – Saudi Arabia made history by sending two female athletes to the Olympics this year—but that number could drop to one if a judoka is not allowed to wear a hijab during her judo bouts. The International Judo Federation president said last week that Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani will compete sans hijab, but a Saudi official had earlier said female athletes would be required to obey the Islamic dress code.

Now, Shaherkani's father confirms his daughter will withdraw from her planned Friday bout if she is not allowed to wear the headscarf, the BBC reports. Judo has banned headscarves for safety reasons. Olympic officials, Saudi officials, and judo chiefs are discussing possible solutions.

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