Saudi Arabia at the Olympics

Oil-rich Middle-East nation, Saudi Arabia, made its first appearance in the 1972 Summer Olympics Games that was held in Munich, West Germany and participated in most summer Olympics since then (except for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympic Games where it threw its partial support to the boycott that was spearheaded by the United States).

By Saudi Arabian law women were not permitted to compete in the Olympic Games (until recently). Saudi Arabia had not sent a female competitor to the Olympic Games until 2012. Under pressure from the IOC, they sent two female athletes to London: Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in judo and 80m runner Sarah Attar. At the same Games, Saudi Arabia won a bronze medal when Khaled Al Eid finished third in the equestrian’s Individual show jumping, and Hadi Al-Somaily clinched the silver medal in the men’s 400 meter hurdles.

Again the nation sent two female athletes to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games. Sprint specialist Kariman Abuljadayel competed in the 100 meters run. Joud Fahmy competed in the women’s 53 category in judo competition but forfeited her match against Legentil of Mauritius in the first round. The loss stirred up speculations that Fahmy dropped her match to avoid facing an Israeli competitor.

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