Even playing field

Saudi Arabia launches a national department of women’s athletics ahead of Olympics

Saudi Arabia's Sarah Attar competes in the women's 800m heats at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 8, 2012 in London. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/GettyImages

Saudi Arabia is creating a national office to oversee women’s sports and has appointed the country’s Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud as the department’s first vice president. The news comes as Saudi Arabia is expected to send four women to the Olympic games in Rio, Brazil, this summer, doubling the number that attended the 2012 London games, where Saudi women made their athletic debut. Only male Saudi athletes had competed before that.

This year’s female athletes will compete in track and field, judo, and fencing.

Princess Reema, 41, grew up in Washington, D.C., where her father was an ambassador, and has been an advocate for women in the country’s economic and humanitarian sectors before moving into the athletic sphere, according to Deutsche Welle.

“I am honored to serve my country,” she said.

Read the full story at TIME.

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