First Saudi Arabian woman to compete in Olympic
The 16-year-old had been in the spotlight before her event began as judo officials said she could not wear a headscarf for safety reasons.
Shahrkhani wore a tight-fitting black cap for her bout which ended quickly in defeat by Puerto Rican Melissa Mojica.
“Hopefully this is the beginning of a new era,” Shahrkhani said afterwards.
“I was scared a lot, because of all the crowd,” she added.
“Unfortunately, we did not win a medal, but in the future we will and I will be a star for women’s participation. It was the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The contest appeared to be an overwhelming experience for the Mecca-born teenager.
Despite only being qualified as a blue belt in judo, she wore the higher black belt to compete.
The two women engaged in a slow-moving fight, a tentative Shahrkhani on the defensive and seeming cautious about attempting to throw Mojica.
The bout ended when the Puerto Rican grabbed Shahrkhani with a secure grip on her collar and flipped her into a match-ending ippon.
Shahrkani is one of two Saudi Arabian females competing at London 2012. The other is American-born 800m runner Sarah Attar.
Shahrkhani did not qualify for her Olympic spot but was invited by the International Olympic Committee to compete as the organisation wanted to bring Saudi women to the Olympics for the first time.