“Prostitutes of the Olympics” – a story about Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkhani
Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkhani were hailed as heroes in London, but back at home the Saudi female athletes have been labelled as the “prostitute of the Olympics”. The 19-year-old and 16-year-old participated trained for the Olympics in United States, although they planned to represent Saudi Arabia in London.
Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkhani received standing ovations from the crowd at the Olympics, although their performance was not worthy of front page story. Nonetheless, both women are the first female athletes from Saudi Arabia.
Sarah Attar, a Saudi-American track athlete, was a lap behind her opponents when they crossed the finish line. In spite of this fans cheered her on every step of the way till she crossed the finishing line.
Wojdan Shaherkhani also failed to impress. Her 82-second judo match was against a Puerto Rican opponent.
Apart from their dismissive performances, women’s participation at the Olympics from Saudi Arabia is expected to change in the following years. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) is going to hold a meeting on sex equality soon and one of the agendas in the meeting is reviewing Saudi Arabia’s stance on letting women participate in the Olympics.
Women are banned from participating in sports in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, when the IOC announced that two women will be participating in the Olympics from Saudi Arabia the news wasn’t taken well.
On one hand, liberalists thought this was an encouraging act towards freeing women and powering them with more rights. On the other hand, certain patriots were of the opinion that this was a foreign step to destroy the Saudi Arabia’s culture and traditions.
Henceforth, Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkhani became known as the “prostitute of the Olympics” all thanks to media and social networking sites, especially Twitter. The families of Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkhani contacted the government in hopes of resolving this issue, but their efforts were futile.
Nonetheless, media got the warning and they sidelined themselves from this affair. Instead, Saudi media started slating the bronze-winning Saudi equestrian team, which interestingly was being led by Prince Abdullah al Saud.
Saudi media is faltering under pressure and like a new born child does not know how to react to this saga. Also, it’s interesting to note that the Saudi Olympic Committee, forced by IOC regulations, had to overturn their ban on women just a couple of weeks before the 2012 London Olympics began.