LONDON -- Wojdan Shaherkani lost her judo bout Friday in 82 seconds, but that was long enough for the shy teenager to make history.The first female athlete from Saudi Arabia to compete at an Olympics, Shaherkani faced a more experienced fighter from Puerto Rico in the women's heavyweight class. She managed a few uncertain lunges at her opponent but soon found herself on the mat, flat on her back, eliminated from the competition in the judo equivalent of a knockout.Afterward, she filed quietly out of London's Excel Center in a too-big judo uniform and the black hijab, or headscarf, that she had lobbied Olympic officials to let her wear in accordance with the modesty that conservative followers believe Islam asks of women.But Shaherkani, 16, had already won her challenge against the strictest taboos of Saudi Arabia, one of the Muslim world's most conservative societies, where the government bans physical education for girls on the grounds that athletics and femininity are incompatible. Hard-line clerics have argued, variously, that sports damages the female psyche, corrupts a girl's morals and can lead to lesbianism.So merely by taking the floor, earning a rousing ovation, Shaherkani raised hopes for a breakthrough for women's rights in her country. Along with another Saudi woman, 800-meter runner Sarah Attar, she's part of a watershed Olympics where, for the first time, every participating nation has sent a female athlete. "I am proud to be the first Saudi woman, and I'm very thankful for all the audience and all the crowd who supported me and stood behind me," Shaherkani told reporters after the bout.Not only is P.E. banned for girls in Saudi schools, women aren't allowed into government-sanctioned sports clubs or most stadiums, even as spectators. They're also forbidden from pursuing higher education or leaving the country without a man's written consent.Yet Shaherkani's father, a judoka and referee named Ali Siraj, took it upon himself to train his daughter privately. Unlike the rest of the judo field in London, she isn't a black belt in the Japanese martial art. Her membership on the Saudi team was announced a few weeks before the games.Shaherkani said she hoped it meant "the beginning of a new era. Hopefully this will be the start of bigger participation for [women in] other sports also," she said.