Olympics update: Saudi Arabia will not send women after all

A few weeks ago I excitedly reported that the last three dominoes – that is, countries that exclude women from Olympic competition but not men – had fallen. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei had all decided to let women go to the Olympics.

Turns out I got a little too excited. Yesterday, it was reported that no Saudi women have qualified for the Games. Probably because no women were allowed to participate in qualifying events. Per the AP:

The story in the pan-Arab daily newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat — an important media tool for Saudi rulers — said Saudi male athletes have qualified to compete in track, equestrian and weightlifting at the games that start in less than three weeks.

There is no “female team taking part in the three fields,” the report said Sunday, quoting an unidentified Saudi official. He said no female athlete had taken part in qualifying events in Saudi Arabia, which severely restricts women in public life.

The AP reports that IOC President Jacques Rogge “remains optimistic” that Saudi Arabia will still send some women athletes to London. Here’s hoping Qatar and Brunei don’t pull the same stunt.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/rneequaye/ Regina Neequaye

    Now why are they (Saudi) our friends again?