Update: Female Saudi Athlete Allowed To Compete in Olympics With Headscarf
As we previously reported, the International Judo Federation told Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, one of the first Saudi women to compete in the Olympics, that she could not wear her hijab last week. The IJF said they wanted their sport to remain nonpolitical and then also cited safety concerns, despite the fact that Asian judo federations have previously allowed Muslim women to wear hijabs during major competitions.
Today, however, an agreement was reached after the International Olympic Committee fostered talks between the International Judo Federation and the Saudi Olympic Committee.
Mark Adams, an International Olympic Committee spokesman, told AP:
They have a solution that works for both parties, all parties involved … The athlete will compete.
He added that the agreement meets Asian judo rules and is "safety compliant but allows for cultural sensitivity."
Still, Shahrkhani won’t be allowed to wear her own hijab, which she has always worn while competing. She will wear an acceptable version of a headscarf decided by the committees when she competes in the women’s heavyweight judo tournament this Friday.
Today, fellow female judo fighters came out in support of Shahrkhani competing in her hijab. France's Gervise Emane told Reuters:
We all want judo to be more democratic and it would be a good thing if more women were allowed to practice judo.