GLOBAL CONNECTIONS: the Near/Middle East
May 7, 1998: Qatar becomes the first Gulf nation to allow women to compete in an athletic tournament.

The Qatar Amateur Athletic Federation (QAAF) hosts the Qatar International Athletic Grand Prix II at Khalifa Stadium. At the games, Qatar becomes the first Gulf country to allow women to compete in an athletic tournament. In the 1990s, Qatar had become a more frequent stopping point for international athletics, twice as the host of some qualifying rounds for the 1994 and 1998 soccer World Cup.

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The reform policies in tiny Qatar are jeopardized by price shock. Qatar's new leader, Sheik Hamid, has given women the right to vote and has a foreign policy that reaches out to everyone, from Israel to Iraq.