Olympic sprinter Kariman Abduljadayel has made history after becoming the first ever Saudi woman to have competed in the 100 meters’ sprint. The 22-year-old woman finished seventh in the preliminary heat and hence was ultimately unable to qualify for the showpiece final race; however, she won a lot of praise from around the world for her efforts. Kariman Abduljadayel stood out from amongst her competitors as she was wearing a full body kit and also a hijab on her head. She managed to complete the race in a total time of 14.61 seconds however she lagged far behind the world record which is currently being held at 10.49 seconds and had been set by American Florence Griffith Joyner back in the 1988 Olympics.[irp]
Even though she could not win the race, she won the hearts of many fans around the world, who have also taken to various social media platforms in order to recognize the ground breaking achievement she had done by simply taking part in the race. The outfit of the Muslim sprinter had drawn a stark comparison to the Australian runner Cathy Freeman who had won the gold medal in the 400 meter in Sydney while wearing a specially designed body suit which was green and white in color. Bailey Witt wrote on Twitter and stated that there was a strong emotional feeling due to the fact that Kariman Abduljadayel is the first ever female sprinter from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to have participated in the Olympics. The twitter post was followed by two hash tags #feminism and #Rio2016.
Another user who is known only as A_Farscape added that Kariman Abduljadayel is the first ever. The user wondered if the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will let more Saudi women train and also win more sprinting events and any other Olympic events. Another user Sylvester U. Orubele had tweeted a congratulatory message to Kariman Abduljadayel and stated that she had done extremely well for representing her country and her people.
Kariman Abduljadayel has followed in the footsteps of Sarah Attar, a female marathon runner who was the first ever female track athlete to have competed for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the 2012 Olympics when the Saudi Olympic Committee had lifted a long lasted ban on women competing in the Olympic Games. Kariman Abduljadayel is one out of four women from the Middle Eastern country of Saudi Arabia to have competed in the Rio Games alongside fencer Lubna Al Omair, Joud Fahmy, and Attar.[irp]
Three out of these four women, including Attar had trained in the United States of America by using their student status, even though Attar is not a student anymore. The officials in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have insisted that all of the female competitors have to dress in order to preserve their dignity and hence wear long sleeved garments and also hijab to cover their hair.