Saudis to Send 2 Women to London Games

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The Gulf kingdom also will include female officials in their Olympic delegation for the first time.

About 10,500 athletes are expected to compete in London, representing more than 200 national Olympic committees.

"The IOC has been working very closely with the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee and I am pleased to see that our continued dialogue has come to fruition," Rogge said. "The IOC has been striving to ensure a greater gender balance at the Olympic Games, and today's news can be seen as an encouraging evolution."

The IOC said Brunei has entered one woman in track and field, Maziah Mahusin, while Qatar has entered four female athletes — swimmer Nada Arkaji, track athlete Noor al-Malki, table tennis player Aya Magdy and shooter Bahiya al-Hamad.

Qatar announced on Wednesday that al-Hamad will be the country's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony on July 27.

"I'm overwhelmed to have been asked to carry the Qatari flag at the opening ceremony," she said. "It's a truly historic moment for all athletes."

The goal of gender equity is enshrined in the IOC's charter, but has proved difficult to achieve.

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 26 national teams had no women. The figure dropped to three in Beijing four years ago.

In Beijing, women represented 42 percent of the athletes, and the figure is expected to increase in London. Women's boxing is included on the Olympic program in London for the first time.

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Associated Press writer Barbara Surk contributed to this report.

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