She'll be competing in a modified hijab and against a much more experienced judo opponent.
But for 18-year-old Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, one of the first two Saudi women ever to participate at the games for the ultraconservative Gulf Kingdom, perhaps an even larger fight is looming when she returns home.
Shahrkhani will take on Melissa Mojica, from Puerto Rico, in a preliminary match early Friday that is likely be over quickly.
The real drama will be after that, in reaction to what Shahrkhani will be wearing in front of male spectators.
A compromise was reached to have her wear a modified hijab while competing. But that has not been nearly enough to satisfy hard-liners who say she is dishonoring herself and her family by competing in front of men — and in form fitting clothes.
Still, she has many supporters at home.
"I am proud of her because she is confronting an entire system and society," said Aziza al-Yousif, a computer science lecturer at King Saud University. "She wants to play judo. Who decides who can judge her and what is in line with Islamic law or not? Let God judge her. We are humans. It's not our place to judge one another."
__ Paul Haven — Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/paulhaven
EDITOR'S NOTE — "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.
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