Officials confident of solving judo's London 2012 hijab controversy
Sunday, 29 July 2012
July 29 - Olympic officials remain "positive" about finding a solution to a Saudi female judo competitor being banned from wearing a hijab, the Islamic headscarf.
Just weeks after a landmark ruling gave the green light to Muslim women footballers to wear a revolutionary Velcro-designed hijab, the head of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Marius Vizer said last week that Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, one of the just two female athletes sent to the Olympics by the Saudis, would be barred from doing so in her sport.
Shaherkani is due to compete in the women's heavyweight tournament later this week.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams refuted claims today that Shaherkani would be withdrawn by her country unless she gets the all clear.
"There are all sorts of reports about what has and hasn't happened over this case," Adams said, clarifying that fresh talks had taken place.
"What I can tell you is that yesterday the key stakeholders involved got together and are having constructive talks.
"I read there was a threat to withdraw but that is not true at all.
"We are still very optimistic of a positive outcome."
Adams said the issue of Muslim women wearing the hijab was down to individual sports.
"In some it is more allowable than in others in terms of safety," he said.
"We want people to take part but this is a safety issue in a combat sport."
The decision to allow female Saudi athletes to compete at London 2012 was originally praised by IOC President Jacques Rogge but it now appears Shaherkani may have to obey a strict dress code.
Before London 2012 Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries, alongside Brunei and Qatar, never to have sent female athletes to the Olympics but the other two confirmed earlier this year that their delegations would include women.
July 2012: Saudi Arabia to send two women competitors to London 2012
June 2012: Saudi Arabian woman's hopes of making history at London 2012 ruined by injury
June 2012: Tim Woodhouse - Saudi Arabia's decision on female athletes is more symbolic than revolutionary
June 2012: Saudi Arabia to allow women to compete at London 2012
May 2012: Rogge refuses to give Saudi Arabia escape route by letting women compete under IOC flag