Dalma Rushdi Malhas Fails To Qualify For London Olympics

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Saudi Arabian show jumper Dalma Rushi Malhas, who aimed to be the first female Olympian for Saudi Arabia, failed to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

There have been some reports in the media, but regretfully the Saudi Arabian rider Dalma Rushdi Malhas has not attained the minimum eligibility standards and consequently will not be competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games, International Equestrian Federation secretary General Ingmar De Vos said in a statement.

Malhas, 20, hoped to be the first female Olympian for a nation that bans public sports event for women, but she did not meet the eligibility standards by June 17. AFP reports that her horse was sidelined by an injury, which forced her to miss a month's work during the qualifying period.

Malhas won a bronze medal at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics and was believed to have a good shot at qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, but will instead set her sights on 2016, according to her mother.

It would have been a great opportunity to have a female athlete on the Saudi equestrian team, Malhas's mother Arwa Mutabagani told AFP. But Dalma is young and she is determined to represent Saudi Arabia at the highest level, so we have great hopes for Rio 2016.

Malhas' inability to qualify for the Olympics represents a missed opportunity for Saudi Arabia. The country has finally joined the 21st Century and agreed to allow its female citizens compete, but might not have a female athlete qualify.

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