First ever Saudi woman competesWojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani became the first Saudi woman to compete at the Olympics when she lost her judo fight in 82 seconds on Friday. And she only made it to the mat after a compromise between Olympic organizers, the international judo federation and Saudi officials cleared the way for her to wear a modified hijab.
LONDON (AP) —Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani became the first Saudi woman to compete at the Olympics when she lost her judo fight in 82 seconds on Friday. And she only made it to the mat after a compromise between Olympic organizers, the international judo federation and Saudi officials cleared the way for her to wear a modified hijab.
The crowd roared right before Shahrkhani’s fight against Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica. The Saudi, wearing judo dress and what appeared to be a tight-fitting black cap, looked tentative and cautious on her feet, and Mojica eventually grabbed Shahrkhani and flipped her onto her back, ending the match.
As she rose to her feet, Shahrkhani gently reached for her head to make sure the hijab was still in place. It was, and the two women bowed to each other and left to a loud ovation.
Afterward, the teenager walked with her father past journalists and TV cameras.
“I am happy to be at the Olympics,” she whispered in Arabic, her brother, Hassan, holding both her arms. “Unfortunately, we did not win a medal, but in the future we will and I will be a star for women’s participation.”
Olympic Stadium was packed for the first time since the opening ceremony, and heptathlete Jessica Ennis gave the delirious crowd exactly what it was hoping to see.
Ennis finished the 100-meter hurdles in 12.54 seconds, the fastest time ever in the heptathlon’s first event and one of the highlights on a raucous opening day for track and field.
Ennis’ time matched Dawn Harper’s gold-winning burst in the 100-meter hurdle final at the Beijing Games — and would’ve been good enough to take that title at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
“Amazing. So loud. When you step up to jump or get in your blocks, they really get behind you. It’s a great feeling,” Ennis said of the home crowd.
Poland’s Tomasz Majewski (men’s shot put) and Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba (women’s 10,000 meters) won the first gold medals in track and field, and world champion Carmelita Jeter of the U.S. led the 100-meter heats with a time of 10.83 seconds.
There were more stirring moments as Wimbledon, where Roger Federer was pushed to the limit in his pursuit of his first Olympic singles medal.
Like so many other times on Centre Court, he delivered.
Federer rallied past Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 3-6, 7-6 (5), 19-17 to reach the final. At 4 hours, 26 minutes, it was the longest three-set men’s match of the Open era.
“I was very tense at certain times,” Federer said. “I was seeing myself as a loser many times during the match.”
Federer faces another tough challenge when he meets Britain’s Andy Murray in Sunday’s gold-medal match. Murray, who advanced with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Novak Djokovic, lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final last month.
Serena Williams also clinched her first Olympic singles medal, beating No. 1-seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-2. On Saturday, Williams will face first-time Olympian Maria Sharapova, who beat Russian teammate Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-3.
The U.S. men’s boxing team was done in London. Then Errol Spence got another chance.
Amateur boxing’s governing body overturned Spence’s loss to Indian welterweight Krishan Vikas five hours after the defense-minded Vikas had apparently clutched and grabbed his way to a 13-11 victory.
After the American team protested the result, AIBA’s competition jury reviewed the bout and ruled Vikas had committed nine holding fouls in the third round alone. He also intentionally spit out his mouthpiece in the second round, which should have resulted in at least four points of deductions.
Spence advanced into the quarterfinals to face Russia’s Andrey Zamkovoy of Russia on Tuesday. If he wins, the American men’s team will avoid leaving the Olympics with no medals for the first time ever.
Diana Taurasi scored 18 points and Tina Charles finished with a double-double to lead the U.S. women’s team to an 88-61 win over the Czech Republic.
Abby Wambach slid into a pass in the 27th minute to knock home her fourth goal of the tournament and then celebrated with a cartwheel in the United States’ 2-0 win over New Zealand in the women’s quarterfinals.
Defending gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the United States were knocked out of the Olympics by Italy.
Destinee Hooker scored 19 points and the U.S. women’s team clinched the top spot in its pool with a preliminary-round victory over Serbia in straight sets.
Maggie Steffens scored three goals and the U.S. women’s team beat China 7-6 in its final preliminary-stage game.
The U.S. finished the preliminary round even with Spain at the top Group A with five points. But Spain earned the top spot because of the tiebreaker, and the Americans will play 2012 European champion Italy in Sunday’s quarterfinals.