SECURING HER HIJAB

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By The Associated Press, Associated Press

After being flipped onto her back, the first Saudi woman to compete at the Olympics did something that was both in line with her Islamic faith and perhaps a sign of respect to the conservatives in her homeland who had qualms about her competing: she gently reached for her head to make sure her hijab was still in place.

It was, and Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica bowed to each other and left to a loud ovation.

Shahrkhani only made it into the games after a compromise between Olympic organizers, the international judo federation and Saudi officials cleared the way for her to compete in a modified hijab.

The Saudi, wearing judo dress and what appeared to be a tight-fitting black cap, looked tentative and cautious on her feet, and Mojica quickly grabbed Shahrkhani and flipped her onto her back, ending the match.

Afterward, the teenager walked with her father past journalists and TV cameras.

"I am happy to be at the Olympics," she whispered in Arabic, her brother, Hassan, holding both her arms. "Unfortunately, we did not win a medal, but in the future we will and I will be a star for women's participation."

— Paul Haven and Barbara Surk — Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/paulhaven and http://twitter.com/BarbaraSurkAP

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