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Haddioui bats for women’s liberation

Read a newspaper; watch the news on television or surf the Internet, one of the talking points is the Arab Spring. Sharmistha Chaudhuri reports.

other Updated: Dec 09, 2011 23:49 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri

Read a newspaper; watch the news on television or surf the Internet, one of the talking points is the Arab Spring. The only news seeping through is the bloodshed in the name of change. The small nation of Morocco, though witnessed major protests, largely escaped the upheaval with the monarchy allowing a new constitution to come into effect.

“These changes are good for the country,” is what 22-year-old Maha Haddioui has to say about the political unrest in North Africa.

The only professional lady golfer from the Arab world, Haddioui is on her maiden visit to the country to play the $300,000 Hero Women's Indian Open. After finishing the first round at tied 66th and three-over par, the youngster is hoping for a better day on the DLF Golf & Country Club on Saturday.

Turning pro last November, the International Business graduate from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, took to the game at the age of 13.

Haddioui, however, has some reservations over the Arab awakening. “With the new constitution in place in Morocco, women have a better voice in cases of marriage or divorce. I am all for change, but not the way it happened in Libya and Egypt,” says the Tiger Woods fan.

Women have to be covered from head to toe in most Arab countries, but Haddioui considers herself lucky. "I've never been told to dress in any other way than my own," she says toying with the pink skirt.

Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg and Thai Nontaya Srisawang grabbed the joint lead on Friday with identical cards of six-under 66. Smriti Mehra and Neha Tripathi (72) were the best Indians at tied 35th.