IOC urged to ban Saudi Arabia from 2012 over stance on women

3 April, 2012
IOC urged to ban Saudi Arabia from 2012 over stance on women

The president of the Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee has ruled out sending women to London 2012, leading to a call for their exclusion from the Games. Prince Nawaf bin Faisal said his body was “not endorsing any female participation at the moment.” Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, said the Saudi stance was unacceptable, “We would expect the International Olympic Committee to exclude Saudi Arabia,” she said.

“Saudi Arabia’s current refusal to send sportswomen to the Olympics puts them directly at odds with one of the IOC’s fundamental principles as laid out within the Olympic Charter, it reads that ‘any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement. And it’s not just Saudi Arabia, the other two countries who have never sent a female to the Olympics are Qatar and Brunei.

I totally back the ban and I hope it is followed through; it is outrageous that this is still acceptable behaviour in the World, and as a nation the UK should be backing the IOC’s principles. I am just hoping the UK doesn’t act in its usual weak manner and accept this discrimination, in order to keep up good relations with Saudi Arabia for financial reasons, as it will make me more determined to move to a country with a backbone. Even just recently after a long battle Women have only been allowed to compete for the first time in boxing in the Olympics in 2012, and even after they were accepted, another fight had to begin on the women who were fighting had to wear skirts as it was more feminine…. REALLY? But, luckily, after the battle was won it was decided that women were allowed to make a decision if they wanted to wear a skirt or not, that was nice of them to give us a choice.

But, if the IOC accepts this then it will show its true stance and showing they back discrimination. It is 2012 not 1812, and women have come a long way in having equal rights within sport, it has been a long road to equality for women at the Olympic Games, but it is still continuing. In the first ever Olympics in Athens in 1896 participation in the Ancient Olympic Games was limited to male athletes only as it was classed as impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and incorrect. The only way women were able to take part was to enter horses in the equestrian events. There are records of several winning women horse owners. As the owner of the horse teams, they were credited with the victory, though they were not present at the events as they were not allowed. How crazy is that?

In 1900 in the Paris Olympics the inclusion of women’s events in lawn tennis and golf was allowed. Women competed in swimming events for the first time in 1912, but none of them were from America, as they would not allow its female athletes to compete in events without long skirts. Women’s athletics and gymnastics debuted at the 1928 Olympics and women competed in track and field events for the first time; however, so many collapsed at the end of the 800-meter race that the event was banned until 1960. Women’s shooting events were first included in the Olympics in 1984. The 2000 Olympics was the first time that women were allowed to compete in the Olympics in weightlifting, so even in the millennium, the battle commenced!

Over time more women’s events were added. Equality in the available sports is one thing, but in many countries women do not have equal right to participate in sports and the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games. So, I thoroughly believe we should all stick together as an equal rights nation and back the ban of the countries that refuse to send women to represent their country in the Olympics, just because they are women. And hopefully that will have a positive effect on support for women in sport in all countries and promote a healthier world. We are living in a World which should be free to have equal rights not just sport but in life. Who says and who governs who should do what because of their sex? They have no right!

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