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Olympics: Saudi Arabia girl attracts attention in judo

Olympics: Saudi Arabia girl attracts attention in judo

London: Wojdan Shaherkani became the centre of attention at the judo arena as the first woman to represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympic Games.

Shaherkani's Olympic journey lasted just one minute and 22 seconds when the 16-year-old lost to Melissa Mojica of Puerto Rico in women's over 78-kg preliminaries Friday, reports Xinhua.

She came through a tightly-packed mixed zone with her older brother Hassan Shaherkani and president of the Saudi Arabian Judo Federation Hani Kamal Najm.

"I never faced such a big crowd, so that created some apprehension," Najm said.

"It means a lot to me (being allowed to compete in the Olympics). I believe that this is the start of a long lasting history of women in the Olympics," she said.

A witness at the courtside said the girl burst into tears after the match.

"But I think it was tears of relief. She had said, 'I was so nervous'," the witness said.

The teenager had received a special invitation from the International Judo Federation (IJF) to compete in London.

Shaherkani hails from a judo family. Her father, Ali Siraj Shaherkani, is an IJF referee and officiated during the London 2012 Games. Her brother and other family members practice the sport as well.


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