Prince Nawaf bin Faisal – Courtesy Sport-ENews.com
As the Olympics vastly approach with Judo, Tae Kwon Do, wrestling, and newly introduced women’s boxing on the schedule, don’t expect to see any female competitors from Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and Qatar.
The three countries have declared that no female athletes will be on their rosters coming into the London Olympic Games this summer. Bunai and Qatar do send their female athletes to international competitions; but Saudi Arabia has an outright ban on females competing in sports.
Prince Nawaf bin Faisal, the sports minister of Saudi Arabia, stated this last week, “At present, we are not embracing any female Saudi participation in the Olympics or other international championships.”
The International Olympic Committee stated this past February that there is no basis in the Islamic religion for the exclusion of women in sports. Countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq are sending female athletes; with Iran sending a very promising boxing team.
Human Right’s Watch has produced a report on sports discrimination this past February to helped put pressure Saudi Arabia to at least think about changing their minds and policies. The IOC does has a doctrine against discrimination in sports, and Human Rights Watch is urging the committee to put the situation on their May 23 agenda when they meet in Quebec.
It may happen that one or two Arabian female athletes that live outside the country could participate if they chose to represent their birth country. Until then, it is up to the international sports committees and equal rights organizations to help promote women in sports.