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French press review 30 July 2012

Today's French dailies are all over the Olympics. Did Qatar and Brunei send women to the Olympics to give themselves a better chance at hosting? How did the Olympic Committee justify its special invitation to the female athletes from Saudi Arabia? And Camille Muffat's journey to France's first olympic gold.


The editorial in Le Monde looks at how the London 2012 Olympics is the first in history to achieve gender equality. Every competing nation has both men and women on their teams.

London Olympic Games 2012

However, it suspects that both Qatar and Brunei have made a concerted effort to send women to this Olympics because they have hopes of hosting the games in the future. Neither Qatar nor Brunei sent women to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Interestingly, the paper points out that the two women in the Saudi Arabian team did not meet the qualifying criteria set by the International Olympic Committee for their respective sports – judo and 800 metres . But the Committee overlooked this for the two women and offered them a special invitation.

In Saudia Arabia, the paper points out, women must be veiled in public and be accompanied by a male relative. Le Figaro doesn’t see how athletes from countries bound by these kinds of cultural practices can feel comfortable in an Olympic village.

The paper says that although the decision by the Committee to allow the two women to compete is in keeping with the principals of the organization that stipulate political and religious neutrality, Iran and Saudi Arabia are a long way from upholding these ideals.

Staying with the Olympics, Camille Muffat, the winner of the women’s 400 metres front crawl, is on the front of Le Figaro posing with the nation’s first gold medal of the games.

Aujourd’hui en France has an in depth article about Muffat's journey to Olympic gold. The olympian tells the paper she wouldn't have made it onto the top spot of the podium in London without her boyfriend, who is also a swimmer and so supports her rigorous training regime.

The paper says that she had the making of a champion from the moment she beat the legendary french swimmer, Laure Manaudou in the 200 metres during the France 2005 championships.

Several of the papers in France are running the story about the capture on Friday of two Brazilians suspected of killing two soldiers in French Guyana earlier this year. Le Figaro explains how an elite unite of the Brazilian army cooperated with the 120 french police to capture the two men in a northern state of Brazil . They are suspected of killing the soldiers who were deployed to prevent illegal goldmining mostly done by Brazilians in the region.

The men were arrested along with a woman who accompanied them on a 200 kilometre journey on quad bikes and canoes through the amazon jungle. According to the paper the suspects will be tried in Brazil because there is no extradition agreement between France and Brazil.


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