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Originally published Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 7:27 AM

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Qatar to send 3rd female athlete to London Games

Qatar has increased its women's team for the London Games, adding a third competitor for the first appearance by women from the Gulf state at an Olympics.

The Associated Press

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DOHA, Qatar —

Qatar has increased its women's team for the London Games, adding a third competitor for the first appearance by women from the Gulf state at an Olympics.

Sheik Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the general secretary of the Qatar Olympic Committee, said Sunday the IOC offered a wild-card invitation for 19-year-old Bahia al-Hamad to compete in the 10-meter, women's air rifle competition. Swimmer Nada Arkaji and sprinter Noor al-Malki had previously been given wild cards.

Like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Brunei have never sent women athletes to an Olympics. Doha, which is among five cities bidding to host the 2020 Games, has made women's participation in sports a key component of its bid.

Al-Hamad was Qatar's most successful athlete at the 2011 Arab Games, winning three gold and two silver medals.

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