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For Saudi Judo Player, a Quick Loss But a Barrier Broken

In just over a minute yesterday, Saudi judo player Wojdan Shahrkhani lost in her Olympic debut. But in doing so, she joined the winner’s circle by breaking a Saudi government-imposed barrier that previously prevented women from competing in the Olympics. Perhaps as important, her participation disproved the common assumption in the diplomatic community that the Saudi Arabian government does not respond to international pressure when it comes to advancing women’s rights.
Saudi Arabia’s Wojdan Shaherkani fights with Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica during their judo match at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

© 2012 Reuters
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    In just over a minute yesterday, Saudi judo player Wojdan Shahrkhani lost in her Olympic debut. But in doing so, she joined the winner’s circle by breaking a Saudi government-imposed barrier that previously prevented women from competing in the Olympics. Perhaps as important, her participation disproved the common assumption in the diplomatic community that the Saudi Arabian government does not respond to international pressure when it comes to advancing women’s rights.


    Saudi Arabia’s Wojdan Shaherkani fights with Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica during their judo match at the London 2012 Olympic Games.