Sarah Attar still gains more than most athletes from her loss in the 800m heat
“This is such a huge honor and an amazing experience, just to be representing the women," said Sarah Attar. “It is a huge step forward… I know that this can make a huge difference.”
Five days ago Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani was branded Saudi Arabia’s first female to compete in the Olympics after she lost her first bout in Judo on Friday.
The conservative Saudi Arabian regime had a long-standing tradition of only entering only male teams at the Olympics. But this year, the International Olympics Committee forced their hand into sending two female athletes to represent Saudi Arabia.
Sarah Attar is long-distance runner hailing from California. But since her father is a Saudi and her mother an American, the 19-year-old Sarah Attar holds dual-citizenship. Since she is not amongst the world’s elite runners, the games’ officials decided to let her run at a shorter event.
The teenager stepped onto the track in a conservative long-sleeved green jacket, white head cover, full-length black leggings and lively green running spikes. Sarah was taken by surprise with the thundering applause she received from the crowd who were touched by her honorable cause. Hoping for a stronger team at the next Olympics, Sarah Attar claimed she wanted to inspire the Saudi women to take part in sports.
"For women in Saudi Arabia, I think this can really spark something to get more involved in sports, to become more athletic," expressed Sarah Attar.
She was lined up against some of the world’s fastest runners, which became evident once burst into a flaming start with Sarah Attar trailing behind. Yet Sarah Attar wasn’t flustered As she kept moving forth, arms swinging by her side feeling a heavy impact of eth exercise across the 800m track. Her competition had long finished as Sarah Attar steadily approached the finish line, clocking in 2 minutes and 44.95 seconds, over 43 seconds behind Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei who came in at first.
But the crowd burst into standing ovation on her finish as if she had eased to the first position.
"To see how the crowd reacted to her when she was running was very touching and very exciting," stated Sarah Attar’s father.
However, for Sarah Attar it was all very simple. The crowd believed in her dreams and that of every Saudi girl who ever wants to compete at a high level at sports.
"I mean, seeing the support like that, it's just an amazing experience," gushed Sarah Attar. "I was so excited to be a part of it. I really hope this can be the start of something amazing."