olympics

A Saudi Woman’s Historic Judo Match, In Pictures

Wojdan Shaherkhani didn’t win her judo match today against Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica. But she still made history as the first woman to compete in the Olympics for Saudi Arabia. Below, a rundown of her brief but boundary-breaking fight.

MIGUEL MEDINA / Getty Images

Shaherkhani almost didn’t compete, because judo’s governing body didn’t want her to wear a hijab. They found a compromise in time.

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / Getty Images

She became the first Saudi woman ever to compete in an Olympic event. Runner Sarah Attar will compete in the 800 meters for Saudi Arabia next week.

Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

Shaherkhani is just 16, and not yet a black belt. Some people worried she wasn’t ready to compete in the Olympics.

Mike Groll / AP

Her opponent, Melissa Mojica, 28, is more experienced. She’s ranked 13th in the world.

Mike Groll / AP

Early in the match, Mojica was able to drop Shaherkhani, scoring the judo equivalent of a knockout.

TORU HANAI / Reuters

The whole thing was over in 82 seconds.

Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

As other fighters had predicted, Shaherkhani’s head covering didn’t seem to cause problems.

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / Getty Images

Afterwards, Mojica said of her opponent, “I admire her for coming from that country and having the courage to compete. I didn’t feel pity for [her]. I felt a lot of respect.”

Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

In a statement after the match, Shaherkhani said, “Hopefully this will be the start of bigger participation for other sports also. Hopefully this is the begin [sic] of a new era.”

KIM KYUNG-HOON / Reuters

She also said, “we did not win a medal, but in the future we will and I will be a star for women’s participation.”

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