|Photo By SERGIO MORAES/REUTERS|
Egypt's Sara Mohamed Baraka and Fatma Rashed row in the women's lightweight double sculls repechage at Eton Dorney during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 31, 2012. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes.
Included in the contributions is Khadijah Safari, a recent recipient of a MWSF award, Khadijah's film is scheduled to broadcast this evening at 7.55pm following the Channel 4 news. The films will also all be available to view on website www.4thought.tv
LONDON—Weightlifter Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan set a clean-and-jerk world record Sunday to win the gold medal in the women’s 53-kilogram category at the London Olympics.
Chinshanlo, 19, lifted 131 kilograms in her second clean-and-jerk attempt, bettering her own world record by 1 kilogram. She finished with a total of 226 kilograms.
Hsu Shu-ching of Taiwan got the silver medal and Cristina Iovu of Moldova the bronze.
Chinshanlo, world champion in 2011, was third after the snatch, but was unstoppable in the clean and jerk. She even loaded 135 kilograms on the bar for her final attempt, but gave up halfway through the lift.
China’s Zhou Jun, a medal favourite, surprisingly made an early departure from the competition after failing her three snatch attempts.
So How Much of An Impact Will Saudi’s Female Olympians Have On Gender Equality? Apparently Not a Lot
By Anna BRESLAW
This year’s Summer Games have been dubbed ‘Olympics 2012: Year of the Woman’ as for the first time in history women are represented in all participating national teams and comprise a record 45 per cent of all athletes.
The first female Olympic athletes from Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar appeared at the opening ceremony in London on Friday, ending these nations’ longstanding practice of sending male-only teams to the world’s biggest sporting event
"This is a major boost for gender equality," International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, said addressing 60,000 spectators and thousands of athletes at the opening ceremony.
Saudi Arabia’s Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani and Sarah Attar walked alongside their male fellow team members, wearing traditional hijabs. They will represent the kingdom in the 78kg category in judo and 800 meters respectively.
Brunei has broken its no-women tradition by sending the runner Maziah Mahusin. “I feel very proud of myself, and I feel honored,” she said. “It’s kind of like being an ambassador for my country.”
Qatar's flagbearer Bahya Mansour al-Hamad leads her delegation as they parade in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012 (AFP Photo / Saeed Khan)
However, the International Judo Federation has ruled that Shaherkani will have to fight without a hijab – a decision that is likely to spark controversy back home in the ultra-conservative kingdom. Powerful clerics there denounce women participating in sports, saying it goes against their natural role.
Still, the very fact that now all 204 national teams feature female athletes is a significant advance for international women’s rights. Only 16 years ago, at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, 26 countries did not have women on their teams.
“You know, it’s a human right. Women have the right to practise sport, they want to practise, they love sport, they are attracted to sport.And we must make sure that barriers are broken down,” Jacques Rogge remarked earlier this month after Saudi Arabia announced that it would be sending women to the Olympics in London.
“It is such a huge honor and I hope that it can really make some big strides over there to get more involved in sport,” Saudi Arabia’s Sarah Attar said, according to a release by the IOC.
“I definitely think that my participation in these Olympic Games can increase women’s participation in sports in general,” the 17-year-old athlete said.“I can only hope for the best for them and that we can really get some good strides going for women in the Olympics further,” she added.
Today was the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies. The Parade of Nations has always been my favourite part as it humanizes the Olympics and lets us see the different teams express their excitement. Dreams will be realized and hopes will be crushed. It is also where inspiration and awe will burst out.
The Parade of Nations is about the athletes. It’s about respecting their communities and uniting people under the umbrella of Fair Play and Love of Sport. To carry the flag ahead of a country is an undeniable honour.
I was quite excited to see so many strong, talented women lead the charge into the stadium.
More thrilling was, how many predominantly Muslim countries (12 in fact: Tajikistan,Qatar, Morocco, Indonesia, Turkey, Jordan , Iraq, Djibouti , Comoros , Brunei , Bahrain , Albania ) had selected women as flag bearers.
These phenomenal athletes must fight through the physical rigors their chosen sport. They must train, focus, balance home life, studies, work, family and community involvement. Some must undoubtedly navigate through a system of discrimination with a lack of understanding and support.
I’m a footballer. I wear hijab and openly identify as a Muslim. But, I live in a country where my participation in open sport is allowed and fostered. No doubt, I am privileged.
Flag bearer Mavzuna Chorieva from Tajikistan, had to enter competitions using her brother’s identification and cutting her hair short because a female boxer was unheard of. She hid her identity to have access to a sport she loved.
Maziah Hussain of Brunei, is the first hijab-wearing athlete to represent her country. So is Bahia Al-Hamad of Qatar. Both women beamed with pride as they led their countrymen through the parade. In fact, they are of the first women to be allowed to participate from their homelands.
To see these women carrying their flag with so much grace and dignity is enough to make any women’s heart burst with joy.
Muslim countries represented at these games have historically faced much scrutiny. Their male vis-à-vis female team ratios may have been quite low. They have always been critiqued for lack of inclusion of women and rightfully so. They may also be from a region currently embroiled in war, political insecurity, poverty and ingrained systems of patriarchy .
Saudi Arabia is sending two women as part of their National Team. It has been getting a tremendous amount of press as the announcement was made very recently.
From a country where women can not yet drive, a young woman , Wojdan Shaherkani, will represent her nation in Judo- if she is allowed to compete with her hijab.
However, the issue in this case isn’t whether the athletes wear hijab or even practice Islam. It is that these women they are strong enough and talented enough to make an Olympic Team. Representing Muslim nations that adhere strictly to tradition and may not always be open to women participating so openly is a huge step and one that deserves recognition. These athletes are shattering assumptions and are demanding to give their best.
It is an honour to watch
That 12 women have been selected to be at the forefront of the world’s most watched sporting event, is unprecedented. They are being recognized for their athletic achievements and potential while their heritage is celebrated. It illustrates that the world can be a place of encouragement, acceptance and inspiration.
And it has room for brilliant athletes, Muslim women included.
This is a virtue that I cling to and hope that my daughter and her daughters will defend.
As these athletes are showcased globally, Muslim women flag-bearers, are blazing trails and sprinting in the right direction – to the podium.
Commissioned by Qatar Museums Authority, Hey’Ya: Arab Women in Sport, the first exhibition in London by the internationally renowned photographer Brigitte Lacombe with the documentary maker Marian Lacombe, opened on July 24, 2012 at Sotheby’s Gallery in London in the presence of QMA’s Chief Executive Officer Mansoor Al Khater. The exhibition will stay on view until 11 August 2012 in conjunction with the XXX Olympiad in London.
The exhibition features a brand new series of large-scale photographs by Brigitte Lacombe of more than 50 Arab sportswomen, from beginners to Olympians, from 20 different Arab countries, shown alongside videos by her sister, Marian Lacombe, which situate the images within the women’s personal histories and a wider – often unspoken – discourse of gender, culture and sport in the Arab world.
The exhibition was conceived by the Qatar Museums Authority, combining its long-standing commitment to commissioning and showing the work of internationally renowned artists with the wider goal of the country to drive forward Qatar’s aim of educating and sparking debate about sport, and of persuading more girls to find a way to participate. Commenting on the importance of this exhibition, QMA CEO Mansoor Al Khater said: “This exhibition is a reflection of our belief in the power of culture in breaking down social barriers and building bridges between people of all nations and backgrounds. QMA is committed to enlarging the cultural debate and creating a platform for the voice of Qatar.”
The project, shot over a period of seven months, began in December 2011, in the Athletes Village at the Arab Games in Doha, where Brigitte and Marian Lacombe set up a specially created outdoor studio, working side by side. Thereafter they travelled working with women athletes of all ages and levels of achievement in countries from the Arabian Gulf to North Africa. With the support of Qatar’s Aspire programme, which promotes sporting opportunities for young people, they also worked with the talented younger generation of sporting hopefuls.
Award-winning French photographer Brigitte Lacombe lives in New York City. Over the last thirty years, she has worked extensively on assignments in magazines, the theatre and film. The long list of legendary directors she has worked with include Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols, Sam Mendes, Michael Haneke, David Mamet, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Jonze, and since 1983 she has worked on all David Mamet’s productions. Her work has been extensively published including two monographs (2001 and 2009). Since 2009, she has been working on an ongoing project for the Doha Film Institute and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar. Entitled, I am Film, this is a collection of portraits of international filmmaker and actors, with an emphasis on filmmakers from the Middle East region.
Marian Lacombe works as an independent documentary film-maker, following 20 years as a reporter, anchorwoman and editor-in-chief on daily news and magazines for the French tv channel M6 in Paris. She has directed documentaries on filmmakers, choreographers and designers such as Robert Altman, Philippe Decouflé and Christian Lacroix. Since 2010, she has been working with Brigitte Lacombe for the Doha Film Institute photographic project I am Film. She also travels around the world filming and working on travel assignments for Condé Nast Traveler Magazine.
QMA Gallery at the Cultural Village, Katara, will play host to the Hey’Ya: Arab Women in Sport exhibition in February 2013. An extensive educational program will complement this exhibition aiming to engage visitors. Hey’Ya, the title of the exhibition is an Arabic expression meaning Let’s Go.
Photo #1: Artist Brigitte Lacombe
Photo #2: QMA CEO Mansoor Al-Khater
Photo #3: From right to left- Khalid Al-Mansouri - Qatar Ambassador to the UK, Julia Peyton Jones - Serpentine Gallery, H.E. Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani - Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee, Brigitte Lacombe - Artist, Robin Woodhead - Chairman Sotheby's and Mansoor Al-Khater - Qatar Museums Authority CEO.
The Azerbaijani Championship on Rhythmic Gymnastics wrapped up in Baku last month. Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation reported that Aliya Garayeva, showing the best result in all-around and all the other four types of programs (hoop, ball, ribbon, clubs), became the country’s five-time champion in all-around, AzerTAj reported.
Wing spiker Safia Boukhima (21) is expected to be Algeria's star once the Olympic tournament gets started on Saturday at Earls Court
London, Great Britain, July 25, 2012 – Safia Boukhima, 21, represents the “nouvelle vague” of Algeria national team that will celebrate here in London its second Olympic appearance. The group will actually open the women’s tournament on Saturday by playing Japan and Boukhima is very much likely to be included in the starting six of the African team.
With team captain Fatma Zohra Oukazi – unanimously considered Africa’s best volleyball player – missing the Olympics due to injury and Faiza Tsabet having retired from competitive sport, Boukhima will be the one to watch out for as the Algerian squad around FIVB hero Lydia Oulmou embarks on a quest to perform well at Earls Court.
A talented wing spiker, Boukhima participated in the Beijing Olympics four years ago as a seventeen-year old; this past February she turned into the most prolific scorer for Algeria along the way to an Olympic berth that was claimed by winning the Continental qualifier held in Blida.
Standing at 176 cm, in spite of her age she has already collected 80 caps with the national team after taking up the sport under the guidance of Djamel Cheurfa at ASW Bejaia. Safia is much more than an outstanding volleyball player as she is fully dedicated also to her academic career. She enrolled at the University of Bouzareah this past December with the goal to graduate in Spanish language but first she will be carrying the hopes of Algeria’s volleyball family here in London.
Being able to combine professional sport with her studies, something that not everyone is really capable of, Boukhima will be a good reference here in London also for a few more up-and-coming stars included in Algeria’s national team, e.g. Celia Bourihane (17), the captain of the youth national team Sarra Belhocine and 18-year old Marwa Achour.
“The Olympic Games are the dream of any sportsman and sportswoman” says Safia, “and I am lucky enough to celebrate my second Olympic appearance in London. We hope to be able to perform well even though our team is significantly sidelined by the absence of some players that are regularly included in the starting six. I also have to express my gratitude to the public authorities for the support they have showed as we were getting ready for this unique adventure”.
After playing Japan on Saturday, Algeria will continue its Olympic campaign by taking on the hosts of Great Britain, 2010 world champions Russia, and 2011 FIVB World Cup winner Italy before rounding out the prelims by testing out the likes of the Dominican Republic.
Algeria will try to improve in London its record from the Beijing Olympics where the African champions lost all of their matches, taking only one set from the game against Kazakhstan.