We just came across this article today and thought it would be worth posting.
Saudi Olympic Committee president Prince Nawaf bin Faisal says he will not support sending female athletes to compete at the London Games and claims the ultraconservative government has no plans to back their participation."I do not approve of Saudi female participation in the Olympics at the moment," Nawaf was quoted by Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Watan.
Bin Faisal said Saudi women may be able to compete on their own at the Olympics, adding that the country's NOC would "only help in ensuring that their participation does not violate the Islamic sharia law".
"We are not endorsing any Saudi female participation at the moment in the Olympics or other international championships," he told a press conference Wednesday, restating the NOC's stance of late last year that Saudi Arabia will only be sending male athletes to London. That plan is unlikely to meet demands made by the IOC, which has been applying pressure on the Saudi government to send women to the Olympics for the first time. "We are still in discussion and working to ensure the participation of Saudi women at the Games in London," the IOC told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Saudi reports suggest that 18-year-old equestrian show jumper Dalma Malhas may be the kingdom's only female athlete at London 2012. She also participated at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics without receiving the NOC's blessing following an IOC invite, and went on to win a bronze medal. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei are the three countries who have never included women in their athlete delegations for an Olympics. Bowing to IOC pressure, Qatar has agreed to send female athletes to London 2012. The IOC Executive Board meeting in Quebec next month is expected to discuss plans to allow Saudi women to compete at this summer's Games.
Although gender equality has progressed over the past 50 years substantially, more work is still needed - apparently. Tennis and the world governing bodies have led the sports world in the gender equity debate and has truly pushed for equality. A major reason for this is due to Billie Jean King. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is the most powerful, wealthiest and successful female professional sports league in the world. With this status also brings great responsibility. The WTA does a great job in pushing gender equality and has been very successful in improving the opportunities for female players throughout the world. These opportunities also extend to coaches and trainers who are interested in working with female tennis athletes. The opportunities to train female junior, collegiate, professional and senior players continues to increase and the ITPA is here to serve its membership to help with education and resources to help train tennis athletes (male and female) to the highest possible level.
*parts of article content from The Associated Press