Friday, August 3, 2012

Wodjan is a Winner

Asalamu Alaykom,

Wodjan Shahrkhani lost her Olympic Judo match. Congratulations go to Melissa Mojica from Puerto Rico.

You can read about it here from The BBC.

And here from The Wall Street Journal.

It will actually take you longer to read the stories than the actual match, which lasted only 82 seconds.  Let's remember, however, that 82 seconds is longer than any of us have ever lasted at world-class Judo.

I consider Wodjan a real winner. Mashahallah. She is, "An Amazing Muslimah."  This isn't some self-esteem-building pep talk. Actually, Wodjan won. She didn't know, at her young age, how much controversy would swirl around her. She simply wanted to represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympics. She did. She was the first Saudi woman to ever compete at the Olympics.  She accomplished her dreams.


What's really great, for me as a hijabi, is that she also represented Islam.  Subhanallah, on our sacred day of Friday in the most sacred month of Ramadan, she won the fight to wear her head covering.  It is a miracle.


It means that some little girl watching her feels that she also has the right to what she wears (or doesn't).  She has a say over her own body.  If someone denies that girl the choice for her modesty then she will know that it isn't true.  She can hold firm to her convictions like Wodjan. 


It means that women all over the world who are considering what it means to reclaim their beauty and privacy will have another way in front of them. They will have the knowledge of a strong, courageous teenager who wasn't afraid to be different. Wodjan embraced her identity as a person first and foremost. She didn't need to put on a teeny bikini or skin-tight lyrca to prove she was an athlete. Wodjan knew who she was and worked it. Women need role models like this.


And finally it means that I feel joy at someone fighting a jihad and winning. It feels good. It feels really good! Not every jihad is with the sword or even the word. This jihad was with judo. Subhanallah!


May Allah continue to guide and protect all the athletes at this year's London Olympics. 

Related Posts


Wodjan Shahrkhani in a Sports Hijab for Judo

Wodjan Shahrkhani Putting Safety Last

To Fast or Be Fast: Muslim Athletes in Ramadan


egyptchick7 said...,0,6376401.column

Did you see this article about Wodjan? Speechless...

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom EgyptChick,

I just ate a huge MOUND of kunafa. That has nothing to do with Wodjan but I thought you'd enjoy knowing what damage I've just done to my waistline.

I couldn't load the article! Could you clip and paste whatever ticked you off? I'm not sure if it's the reporting, the quoting, the...what was is???

I'm curious (and really full).

egyptchick7 said...

KUNAFA!!! OMG was it cheese???? My favorite!!

"With some in her country calling her one of the "Prostitutes of the Olympics," with her country's television network refusing to broadcast the match, with her own neighbors perhaps whispering of her shame, Shaherkani became the first female athlete from Saudi Arabia to compete in an Olympic event."

And "Around her white robe, the 16-year-old was wearing a black belt even though she is not even close to qualifying for a black belt. She had been practicing the sport for only two years. The Olympics were her first official judo competition."

"One of two female Olympic athletes from her country, she was thrown into the Games by a Saudi government that finally caved into pressure from the International Olympic Committee. She had never been out of the country. She didn't know she would be competing until a couple of days ago, when judo's governing body finally met her country's demand that she wear a modified hijab.

Only when the 176-pounder finally took the mat against Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica at midmorning Friday did the world see the posturing's real and painful truth.

This giant symbol was really just a frightened, lost little girl."

"Many in her country are condemning her and Attar's appearance here, with the "Prostitutes of the Olympics" becoming a Twitter hashtag. Yet watching Wojdan Shaherkani staring down humiliation Friday for the sake of breaking chains that are impossible to comprehend, I was thinking she is something else to these Olympics. Something like its hero."

She was an unqualified pawn for Saudi so it can appear more liberal even though she wasn't qualified and they didn't even televise her! It's such a shame but hopefully the tides are turning...

I need Kunafa!! Super Jealous!!!

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom EgyptChick,

And nah nah nah nah nah on the kunafa. No, it wasn't cheese and thank God for that! How many more calories could my body have handled. I've got to tell my hub to stop bringing up steaming hot kunafa from his sisters...but not right away ;)

Thanks for the cut-n-paste about Wodjan. I'm not happy with the spin they put on the story. You can always find someone to pull down the goodness. This reporter seemed determined to find the negative.

Where to start...

Aren't there always detractors? I also heard some comments of "prostitutes" but never saw it directly----it was only something I saw that allegdely came out of Saudi. If it was said, I can kind of understand why. When I saw the American volleyball team in bikinis practising on a public green in London (and in full view of passersby...many of them oggling males), it did occur to me, "WHO THE HELL ARE THESE WOMEN?!" So, if any Saudis saw coverage (or lack of coverage) like that they would have reacted badly.

Was she qualified to compete? Probably not. She got some allowances that others did not because the Olympics had to start somewhere with having Saudi women getting involved. You can't start a program from nowhere and nothing. So, Wodjan was a step in the right direction. Her father was her coach, by the way, so he certainly knew what he was doing.

She was a frightened girl BUT if you see her pics I posted, that fear did not disable her. She went through her match. She didn't lose it from tears or upset. She performed!

It says she didn't know she was competing. Of course it was a big dramas (as we know) but she was anticipating the match. It's not like someone sprang it on her.

The match wasn't televised get ready for this...the Olympics scheduled it for EXACTLY the Friday prayer time. Yep. How clever is that? So, while the West can point fingers at Saudi, let's see how many fingers are pointing back at Olympic schedulers. I'm not saying we have to be oh-so-careful of every single person competing. BUT if you are making a big deal about THE FIRST Saudi woman to compete and then you have her in an event on a FRIDAY during the PRAYER time---it's wrong.

Lastly, I hate the speculation about her neighbors whispering. Astragferallah. Do we allow journalism like that???? Did a reporter speculate about the neighbors of Kayla, the American who won the judo gold? Why do we want to allow such shoddy writing? It's not OK to do it for Kayla or Wodjan or ANYBODY!

I need some more kunafa....

Carry on!

Thanks, EgyptChick. The article is upsetting but it's needed in a dialogue...I guess. Ya, it needs to be addressed...and dismissed.

Love! Light! Egyptian Desserts!