Women in Saudi Arabia are forbidden from driving, but they can now compete in this summer's Olympic Games.
"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is looking forward to full participation," the Saudi Embassy in London announced on Sunday, following speculation that Saudi Arabia's team could be disqualified on the grounds of gender discrimination. "The Saudi Olympic Committee will oversee participation of female competitors who qualify."
The woman-ban was lifted after six weeks of discussions led by Saudi King Abdullah, according to the BBC, who note that Abdullah has been pushing for Saudi women to play a more active role in society.
This is great, isn't it? First the Olympics, then driving rights, then full-participation-in-government rights, right? So, who qualifies?
- According to The Wall Street Journal:
[W]ith the London Olympic Games due to start within weeks, only one female Saudi athlete, show-jumper Dalma Rushdi Malhas, is generally considered to be trained and ready to compete at the level of the Olympics.
- According to BBC News:
Saudi officials say that with the Games now just a few weeks away, the only female competitor at Olympic standard is showjumper Dalma Rushdi Malhas.
- According to The Guardian:
An equestrian jumping contestant, Dalma Malhas, 18, is likely to be Saudi Arabia's only female athlete to qualify for this summer's Games in London which get underway on 27 July.
So, essentially, the only major nation to ban women from the Olympic Games is now allowing Dalma Malhas to compete in this summer's Olympic Games?
Since no other woman qualified due to, I don't know, the Saudi Regime closing private gyms for women in 2009 and 2010, and repeatedly discouraging their participation in sports and other forms of physical activity?
Alright, we're clear.
Dalma Malhas, it's all on you, honey.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.