Congratulations are in store for judo competitor Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and 800-meter runner Sarah Attar for being the first female athletes that Saudi Arabia will send to the Olympics. "This is very positive news and we will be delighted to welcome these two athletes in London in a few weeks time," IOC President Jacques Rogge said in a statement picked up by The Associated Press, which adds that the two women were invited by the IOC and were entered by the Saudi delegation before the July 9 deadline.
Shahrkhani and Attar's selections are the latest chapter in the "will they or won't they" drama surrounding Saudi Arabia's decision to send female athletes to the games. As Reuters reports, the country has been facing gender-equality pressure from human rights groups for months. Just three days ago we noted that the country said none of their female athletes qualified for the games despite 2012 being the first year women were allowed to compete. "With Saudi Arabian female athletes now joining their fellow female competitors from Qatar and Brunei, it means that by London 2012 every national Olympic committee will have sent women to the Olympic Games," Rogge said in The AP report. And that's the way it should be.