Saudi Arabia's female judo entrant in the London Olympics will withdraw from the Games if she is not allowed to wear the hijab during competition bouts.
Ali Seraj Shaherkani, the father of judo athlete Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, has said she will not compete in Friday's +78kg judo competition if she is not allowed to wear the hijab, Alarabiya reported.
Shaherkani is one of two female athletes due to compete in the London Olympics, marking an historic first for the conservative Muslim Kingdom that previously prohibited women from competing. Digital Journal reported Saudi officials agreed to the women competing providing they adhered to the edict that they "wear suitable clothing that complies with Sharia law, are accompanied by their guardian... and they do not mix with men during the games."
However, last week International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer decreed that the hijab would be banned during competitive judo bouts, citing safety reasons. His position resulted in officials in Saudi Arabia threatening to withdraw from the Games.
Mark Adams, communications director of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) insisted that the IJF was in constructive talks with the Saudis. The IOC has distanced itself from the issue, saying the matter should be resolved by the IJF.