SPORT
08/08/2012 08:58 BST | Updated 08/08/2012 11:08 BST

Sarah Attar Becomes First Female Saudi Arabian To Compete In Athletics At Olympics (PICTURES)

Sarah Attar has become the first ever Saudi Arabian woman to compete for her nation in athletics at an Olympics.

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Judokan Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani was the only other female participant for the Saudis at the London 2012 Games, competing in the judo tournament.

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Attar, 19, competed in the women's 800 metres where she finished last in Heat 6 of qualifying, clocking in at 2.44.95 minutes.

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She competed wearing a white head cover, full leggings and a long sleeved top.

Despite her position, the runner received huge applause from the stadium crowd. Attar beamed to BBC Radio 5 Live: "It is such an honour to be representing Saudi Arabia. Hopefully this can make such a huge difference.”

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"It was such a unique opportunity, they invited me and welcomed me and to make that first step for women is just the most amazing feeling ever."

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During the opening ceremony's parading of nations, Attar and Shahrkhani, walked behind their male teammates, unlike the delegations from other Islamic nations.

In Saudi Arabia, some conservatives have critics the athletes’’ participation in London 2012, after the Saudi organising committee were pressured by the IOC into breaking with tradition and sending females as well as males to compete.

Those celebrating the participation of the Saudi women have also come under attack, with French journalist and Islamic commentator Nabila Ramdani accusing the country of engaging in a “PR sheen” rather than genuine progress.

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