Saudi woman climbs Everest

AFP-JIJI

Raha Muharraq, a 25-year-old Saudi woman, on Saturday reached the summit of Mount Everest in a first for the conservative Muslim kingdom, where women’s sports are severely restricted, her father said.

Hassan Muharraq said that Raha, a graduate of the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, has now achieved her ambition of climbing the seven highest peaks in the world, after climbing mountains in Europe, Tanzania, Antarctica and Argentina.

“Her dream was to prove that with determination and self-denial she can bear difficulties because she believed that humankind can overcome” all tests, he said.

Saudi Arabia, which imposes a segregation of the sexes, this month gave the green light for girls at private schools to play sports, under certain conditions. Under pressure from international sports bodies, it sent two female athletes to the London Olympics last summer.