Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi’s powerful Interior Minister known for his opposition to women being given the right to drive, has given the nod to sending equestrian jumping contestant Dalma Malhas, 18, to participate in this year’s summer Olympics in London, GMA News said.
Aziz’s decision has yet to be officially declared, but if it pushes through, Malhas would be the first and only woman Saudi Arabia is sending for the first time to the Olympics.
In Saudi Arabia, sports events for women were banned, women were also not allowed to drive cars and Saudi authorities have shut down gyms for females last year.
But the Saudi lady equestrian Malhas, even without having been nominated by her country, became a bronze medalist at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics, following an invitation from the International Olympic Committee.
Prince Nawaf bin Faisal, the head of the Saudi Olympic Committee, said his country would be sending only male athletes but women could also take part if they receive direct invitations saying "If they receive invitations, we will discuss that, especially [to ensure] they wear right outfits and that the competitions are suitable for women."