x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

IOC hopeful of female Saudi Olympians at London Games

Saudi Arabia is close to sending female athletes and officials to the Olympics for the first time at the London Games, the IOC said yesterday.

LONDON // Saudi Arabia is close to sending female athletes and officials to the Olympics for the first time at the London Games, the IOC said yesterday.

Saudi Arabia is one of three countries that has never included women in its Olympic teams, along with Qatar and Brunei.

The International Olympic Committee is now hopeful that all three will send female Olympians to London, marking the first time every competing nation is represented by women.

"The IOC is confident that Saudi Arabia is working to include women athletes and officials at the Olympic Games in London in accordance with the international federations' rules," the IOC said.

The IOC said it held a "very constructive meeting" last week with Saudi Olympic Committee officials in Lausanne, Switzerland, about the inclusion of women in London and Saudi Arabia's culture and traditions.

A list of potential female athletes was presented to the IOC, and those names will now be studied by the Olympic body and relevant international sports federations to assess their level.

A formal proposal for the participation of Saudi women will be submitted to the IOC executive board at its meeting in Quebec City from May 23-25.

Because the women may not meet the international qualifying standards, the IOC may need to consider special circumstances for their inclusion.