Pepperdine's Attar to Make History Running for Saudi Arabia at Olympics
July 12, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. - Pepperdine junior Sarah Attar will have the honor of being one of the first women ever to compete for Saudi Arabia at the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced today.
Attar (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) has run both cross country and track for the Waves the past two seasons. She was born in the United States but holds dual citizenship thanks to her father.
Saudi Arabia was one of a few countries that had not yet sent women to compete at the Olympics, but after long negotiations, the IOC announced today that the country would be sending two women to the 2012 Games in London: Attar, who will run the 800 meters, and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, who competes in judo.
"A big inspiration for participating in the Olympic Games is being one of the first women for Saudi Arabia to be going," said Attar in an IOC press release. "It's such a huge honor and I hope that it can really make some big strides for women over there to get more involved in sport."
Initial heats for the women's 800 meters are scheduled for August 8, with the semifinals on August 9 and the final on August 11.
An outstanding student who is majoring in art, Attar was named to the West Coast Conference's Commissioner's Honor Roll the past two years, as well as being recognized as a Pepperdine Scholar-Athlete. She was named to the WCC's All-Academic honorable mention squad for cross country in 2011.
"Sarah is a wonderful Pepperdine student who works hard in all she does," Pepperdine Coach Robert Radnoti said. "We are excited and very proud of her selection to the Saudi Arabian Olympic Team. We hope that she has a great experience and we look forward to her sharing stories with our team when we all get back together in late August."
Attar is one of two current Pepperdine student-athletes who will be taking part in the Olympics. Senior Roxanne Barker is a goalkeeper for South Africa's women's soccer team.