No Olympic spot for Malhas

Dalma Rushi Malhas will not compete at the Olympics

Dalma Rushi Malhas will not compete at the Olympics

First published in National Sport © by

World equestrian chiefs have confirmed that Saudi Arabian female showjumper Dalma Rushdi Malhas will not compete at London 2012.

Saudi Arabia officials announced over the weekend that female athletes would be allowed to represent the country for the first time at an Olympic Games. By doing so, it ended speculation that the entire Saudi Olympic team could have been disqualified from London due to gender discrimination.

Malhas, 20, is thought to be the only Saudi female athlete of potential Olympic standard, but she has not been able to secure necessary qualification levels.

In a statement, the Lausanne-based Federation Equestre International said: "Dalma Rushi Malhas, the Saudi Arabian rider who won individual bronze at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, will not be competing at London 2012.

"The 20-year-old had been aiming to achieve the minimum eligibility standard required for the Olympic Games by the June 17 deadline, but her horse was sidelined by injury and missed a month's work during the qualifying period.

"The 12-year-old Swedish warmblood mare Caramell KS, which was bought from Swedish rider Svante Johansson at the end of 2011, was found to be suffering from a back problem, putting an end to Dalma's hopes of qualifying for London 2012.

"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."

FEI secretary general Ingmar De Vos added. "However, we understand that the IOC has a number of other female athletes from Saudi Arabia in other sports who are currently under consideration.

"The FEI is very proud to have been the international federation to field the first female athlete from Saudi Arabia at the Youth Olympic Games when Dalma won individual bronze in the jumping, and we very much look forward to seeing her on the Olympic stage again."

Malhas will now focus her attention on the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, her mother Arwa Mutabagani said. Malhas, who was born in Ohio but has Saudi citizenship, has trained as a showjumper in Italy and France.

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