International Women’s day let down by London Games

Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah United train before a friendly basketball game in Amman, 2009. Photograph: Ali Jarekji/REUTERS
What better way to have marked London’s commitment to International Women’s Day then for the London Olympic Authorities to have refused Saudi Arabia  a place in this year’s games unless and until they halt the unjust discrimination against women who are refused a place on their national team.
The Guardian recently highlighted the plight of Saudi female athletes who are unjustly curtailed by their own government as both women and girls are denied the right to participate in sport.
London has disappointingly failed to follow the example set by Sydney in 2000 which banned Afghanistan from competing and regardless of any number of fireworks, sponsorship deals and other corporate hallabaloo which will no doubt ensue with this year’s games, it is the legacy of the games which will be most remembered.  The legacy of a games that plays host to all male teams is not one which I am proud to pass on and neither should Lord Coe.

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