London, England – Saudi judoka Wodjan Shahrkhani must compete at the London Olympics without a hijab, the president of the International Judo Federation said Thursday.
Marius Vizer said Shahrkhani "will fight in the spirit of judo and according to the principles of judo, without a hijab."
Reports have said the decision to not allow her to wear the head scarf was made for safety concerns.
Shahrkhani is one of two women from Saudi Arabia competing at the Olympics, the other being 800-meter runner Sarah Attar. They are the first Saudi women to compete at the games, and Saudi Arabia was the last participating country to never have sent a woman to the Olympics.
But Vizer's statement could jeopardize Shahrkhani's participation, as the hijab is required in Saudi Arabia. The country's Olympic federation has not yet commented on the ruling.
Shahrkhani is competing in the over-78 kilogram category, which will be contested Aug. 3. She drew Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica in her first match.