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Saudi woman approved to wear headscarf during Olympics judo competition

By the CNN Wire Staff
July 31, 2012 -- Updated 0028 GMT (0828 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Judo competitor Wojdan Shaherkani has been told she can wear her headscarf
  • Her father and Saudi officials insist she must wear it
  • This year is the first time Saudi Arabia has sent women to the Olympics
  • Shaherkani is 16 and competes in her first match Friday

London (CNN) -- A female Saudi Arabian judo fighter will be allowed to compete while wearing a hijab, a Saudi Olympic Committee spokesman said Monday.

Razan Baker told CNN that International Olympic Committee, International Judo Federation and Saudi officials had agreed that Wojdan Shaherkani could wear a headscarf during her matches.

Historic first: Saudi women in Olympics
Female Saudi athlete: A dream come true

Shaherkani had signed an agreement with Saudi Olympics officials that she could compete only if she wears "correct and approved" clothing that "sticks to Islamic principles," Baker said.

This year is the first time every nation competing in the Olympics is sending women as well as men. Saudi Arabia was the last country to announce that it would send female athletes.

Read more: London Olympics breaks new ground for women

Her father, Ali, was adamant that he would not let his daughter compete if she must remove her hijab, he told the Saudi newspaper Al Watan on Monday.

Shaherkani, 16, is scheduled to compete Friday. Her photo on the Saudi team's Olympics website shows her with a scarf that covers her hair but not her face.

Middle distance runner Sarah Attar is the only other woman on the 19-member Saudi team.

Read more: Historic break through or false dawn?

CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson and CNN's Schams Elwazer contributed to this report.

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