Islam in the Olympics: All countries send women

9:57 AM, Aug 8, 2012   |    comments
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(US Presswire_

By Steve Patterson

St. Louis (KSDK) -- For the first time, every country participating in the Olympics sent female athletes to compete. The 2012 London Olympic Games is the first to feature women from every National Olympic Committee across the world.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei are the final three countries to include women. All three participated in the 2008 Bejing Games without sending women.

"We all welcome this decision this year," Said Dr. Ghazala Hayat, a Neurologist at St. Louis University. "From a Muslim perspective I'd say it's opening the doors for them. And it's also going to let the non-Muslims see that the women in Muslim countries are very competitive and they can take part in any sport and do great."

Hayat is a chairperson on the public relations committee for the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis in Hazelwood. She calls the move an encouraging step for the advancement of women in athletics.

"Hopefully they will see, the Muslim women when they are modestly dressed, they are representing their countries, competing and winning," she said. "[they are] Hoping that this will get better."

Dress is a big part of it. The athlete additions this year come from conservative Islamic countries. Some committees require traditional garb that covers most of the full length body, including the Hijab or a veil to cover hair and head. \

A few of the Islamic countries received special invitations to have their female athletes Compete.

None of the athletes have done particularly well in their events; however, most have been celebrated and cheered on by the international crowds.

This year, there are more than 3,000 Muslim athletes competing. Here are a few of the notable performances from female athletes:

Sarah Attar / Saudi Arabia -- 800m (8TH)

Judoka Shaherkani / Saudi Arabia -- Judo (L - first match)

Noor Hussain Al-Malki / Qatar -- 100m (DNF)

Tahmina Kohistani / Afghanistan -- 100m (9TH)

Shinoona Salah al-Habsi / Oman -- 100m (4TH)

Fatima Sulaiman Dahman / Yemen -- 100m (8TH)

Rana El Husseiny / Egypt -- Team Fencing (Round of 16)

Eman Gaber / Egypt -- Team Fencing (Round of 16)

"That is actually important to me from two perspectives. One is being a Muslim, second is being a female. Hayat said. "Hopefully this will open more doors in the society."


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