When King Saud University in Riyadh announced holding a marathon for female students, the mufti of the kingdom put his foot down and talked the university president into canceling the entire event.
The marathon, scheduled for Sunday morning, was officially postponed for unknown reasons.
In a statement to Saudi daily Okaz, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al al-Sheikh said he called the university president about the marathon and stressed that it had to be cancelled.
The controversy started last January with a women's football game held between the teams of Prince Mohamed bin Fahd University in Khobar and Al-Yamama University in Riyadh.
The game, held in a closed stadium with strictly female audience, caught the attention of Saudi media, as a precedent in the conservative society.
Saudi Arabia is under pressure from the International Olympic Committee as far as women sports are concerned. The committee stressed that it will make it compulsory for each country to send both male and female delegations.
Although women's participation in sports is generally met with official rejection in Saudi Arabia, some private companies have been promoting it. Kingdom Holding Company formed a female horse racing team to take part in competitions outside the kingdom.
In a remarkable victory for Saudi female athletes, Saudi rally driver Marwa al-Eifa won the 2005 First International Women's Rally held in Dubai. Her compatriot Marwa al-Imam won 8th place in the same competition.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)