Sunday, May 18, 2014

Women's Volleyball in Saudi Arabia

Particularly after the controversy surrounding the 2012 Olympics, from which many called for Saudi Arabia to be banned for its lack of female athletes, King Abdullah has been pushing for women's sports in the kingdom.  Last month he got a positive recommendation from the national shura council, and what that to bolster the move's popular legitimacy, women's volleyball has debuted at a public school:
Girls at Amal Institute in the Red Sea city of Jeddah competed in a volleyball tournament last week after the school built new sports facilities, also for basketball,tennis and hockey, Al-Hayat said...
In April, the kingdom’s Shura Council, a consultative body, recommended after a heated debate that the longstanding ban, already relaxed in private schools last year, be scrapped.
The council cited a ruling by the kingdom’s late top cleric, or grand mufti, Shaikh Abdel Aziz bin Baz, that women were entitled to play sports “within the limits set by Islamic law...”
Saudi authorities shut down private gyms for women in 2009 and 2010, and women are effectively barred from sports arenas by strict rules on segregation of the gender in public.

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