Wojdan Shaherkani became the first Saudi female athlete to participate in an Olympic Games when she competed Friday (August 3rd) in a judo match in London, AFP reported.
Shaherkani lost to Puerto Rican contender Melissa Mojica when she was thrown with an ippon -- the equivalent of a knockout in judo -- just one 1 minute and 22 second after the match began.
Shaherkani entered the arena with her father amid warm welcome and left to a standing ovation.
"I'm proud, I'm happy and I want to continue in judo," she said after it was all over. "I want to thank the fans for their support."
Shaherkani said she was anxious at first. "It was my first time in a big competition and there was a lot of pressure because of the hijab issue".
The Saudi fighter had attracted broad media attention after International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer said she would not be able to compete in the Games while wearing a hijab, citing safety reasons.
However, following lengthy talks between the International Olympic Committee, its Saudi counterpart and the International Judo Federation, officials agreed to allow Shaherkhani to wear a special headscarf that both respected religious traditions and did not pose a safety risk.