Saudi Arabia media ignores historic Olympic Games of female athletes
LONDON – The two historic athletes who became the first women to ever represent Saudi Arabia in the Olympic Games have been snubbed by their nation's media and subjected to a campaign of hate.
Sarah Attar ran the 800 meters on the Olympic Stadium track and Wojdan Shaherkani competed in judo earlier in the Games after the Saudi government eased its strict stance on women competing following international pressure.
Attar finished last in her heat and Shaherkani lost her opening bout, with both gaining huge worldwide attention. However, back in Saudi Arabia, the approach was very different.
[ Related: Saudi judoka loses first bout, promises to be back ]
"We were the only newspaper to write about it," said Hahled Al-Maeena, editor of the English-language publication Saudi Gazette, in a telephone conversation with Yahoo! Sports. "I believe these girls are heroines, and we should celebrate as a nation. Unfortunately, other people do not agree."
A sinister Twitter campaign with the hashtag "prostitutes of the Olympics" originated in Saudi Arabia and was used to aim sexist vitriol at the competitors.
The father of judoka Shaherkani was so incensed that he contacted the country's interior minister to demand action against those who had insulted his daughter. Under Saudi law, punishment for insulting a woman's honor and integrity can be up to 100 lashes.
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