| LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 13
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 13 Three
nations that have never sent women athletes to the Olympics
might do so for this year's London Games, the International
Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar are the only countries to
have never included female athletes in their Olympic teams.
"The IOC is working very closely so as to ensure the three
countries that have never had women representation at the
Olympic Games will send a representation, including Saudi
Arabia," IOC director general Christophe De Kepper told
"It is too soon to say where we stand now but we are working
hard. What we can say is that the three parties are very
cooperative in finding a solution."
Human Rights Watch criticised Olympic organisers last month
for what it said was their tolerance of gender discrimination by
the Gulf Arab states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as the
tiny southeast Asian nation of Brunei.
Qatar, bidding to host the 2020 summer Games, said last
month it would send female athletes to the Olympics for the
The IOC has offered Qatar wild card invitations for two
female athletes to compete in London, swimmer Nada Arkaji and
sprinter Noor al-Malki.
Sport in the patriarchal society of Saudi Arabia has long
been reserved as an activity for men. Even stadiums for watching
sports prohibit females to be present.
The IOC expects athletes from all of its 204 national
Olympic committees to compete in London.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Sonia Oxley)