Equestrian Dalma Rushdi Malhas is the first female athlete from Saudi Arabia to compete at an Olympic-level event. She rode at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore, winning a bronze medal.
She was born in 1992 in Ohio, US. Her mother, Arwa Mutabagani, is also a prominent equestrian. Mutabagani has been a board member at the Saudi Equestrian Federation since 2008, and was the first female appointed to the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee in 2008.
Malhas has been riding since she was four. At 12 she moved with her mother from Saudi Arabia to Rome to train with her under Italy’s former showjumping national coach, Duccio Bartalucci.
After spending a few years in Rome and obtaining her International Baccalaureate, she moved to join a two-year professional training program at the Forsan Equestrian Center in Chantilly, France.
She participated in Singapore in the 14-18 age group, becoming only the third Saudi Arabian athlete to land an Olympic medal, winning bronze.
After she participated in several competitions abroad, the International Olympic Committee invited her to represent Saudi Arabia.
However, she was disqualified from the Games for failing to meet the minimum eligibility standards, according to the International Equestrian Federation. Also, Caramell KS, Malhas’ horse, suffered an injury in May 2012 and was not expected to recover for the Games in London.
Malhas participated in the Horse Hurdles Individuals category at the World Equestrian Championships in the US city of Tryon, North Carolina, on Wednesday, alongside more than 60 female equestrians from all over the world.