Saudi woman to compete without Islamic headscarf

Updated: Thursday, 26 Jul 2012 16:04

Saudi Arabia's female judo competitor will fight at the London Olympics "without a hijab" the sport's chief said on Thursday.

Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, one of the first two female athletes sent to the Olympics by the conservative Muslim kingdom, will not be wearing the Islamic headscarf when competing in the women's heavyweight tournament next Friday.

"She will fight according to the principle and spirit of judo, so without a hijab," International Judo Federation president Marius Vizer said.

Female participation in sports has long been a controversial issue in Saudi Arabia, where powerful clerics denounce women for exercising, saying it goes against their nature.