7 seriously impressive hijabi sportswomen you should know about
- 02 April 2019
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A few weeks ago, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) amended their guidelines to allow female boxers to wear hijabs at international competitions, and we have German boxer Zeina Nassar to thank for helping to bring about this change.
She’s just one of the many powerful, hardworking women all over the world who choose to wear hijabs and compete in sports. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites.
1. AMAIYA ZAFAR (BOXING)
Amaiya, an 18-year-old boxer from the US, has been directly affected by the AIBA amendment; she too had previously been prevented from competing at an international level while wearing her hijab. She’s been boxing for five years and now hopes to participate in the 2024 Olympics.
2. IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD (FENCING)
You’ve probably already heard of Ibtihaj as the first Muslim American in a hijab to compete in the Olympics. She won a bronze at the Rio Olympics as part of the US fencing team, has written two books about her life, started a modest-clothing company with her siblings, and even has a Barbie doll in her likeness. This ever-industrious powerhouse has now written a children’s book that will hit bookstores in September 2019.
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Excited to share the cover of my children’s book THE PROUDEST BLUE — I can’t wait for you to read it! The book follows my two sisters, Asiya and Faizah, on their first day of school and how their unbreakable bond helps Asiya wear her hijab to school for the first time ?? I wanted to tell this story so that young children that look like me could see themselves in a picture book. Thank you @skalibooks and @metahatem for helping bring this beautiful work of representation to light and to my @littlebrownyoungreaders @fullfathomfive @wasserman family for all of the hard work. #TheProudestBlue goes on sale September 10, 2019, but you can pre-order it now on Amazon ?
3. ZAHRA LARI (FIGURE SKATING)
Zahra is the first figure skater from the UAE to compete internationally, with a career inspired by the Disney movie Ice Princess. The 24-year-old figure skater was also the first to compete internationally while wearing a headscarf.
In 2012, during the European Cup in Italy, she lost points for wearing the headscarf, as the judges saw it as a uniform violation. She is quoted by CNN as saying, “I really don’t have any negative feelings towards this ruling … The judges at that time had never seen someone compete with it, so they really didn’t know how to score me.” She has campaigned to have the rules changed.
4. KULSOOM ABDULLAH (WEIGHTLIFTING)
Kulsoom is the first female weightlifter from Pakistan and made history for competing while covered in 2011.
5. AMNA AL HADDAD (WEIGHTLIFTING)
Amna made an unlikely career switch from journalism to switched to competitive weightlifting, and she’s now most famous as the inspiration for sporting goods giant Nike’s foray into sports hijabs. Although Amna didn’t qualify for the Olympics, she continues to be an inspiration for Muslim women athletes.
From Depression to training for the Olympics in weightlifting; I now use my story to uplift others, create hope, and inspire change in the country and beyond.— Amna Al Haddad (@amna_alhaddad) June 7, 2018
Would love @ABZayed support with sharing ??????.https://t.co/Tskyl1r7k0pic.twitter.com/psH7IRIKdX
6. SHIRIN GERAMI (TRIATHLON)
Shirin is the first female triathlete from Iran to participate in a world championship. She nearly didn’t make it to the 2013 world championships in London but received permission from the Iranian government just a few hours before the race. In order to participate, she devised an outfit that would keep her fully covered, in keeping with her country’s stance on women’s dress.
Major #throwback to the London #triathlon#worldchamps... where it all started. #Repost@shahriarsiami with @get_repost— Shirin Gerami (@ShirinGeramiTri) February 19, 2019
اين #عکس شايد زيباترين لحظهايست که در #بي_بي_سي ثبت کردم!
شادي بيوصف #شيرين_گرامي، وقتي از خط پايان عبور ميکند، اولين #زن_… https://t.co/WjVpjgB2zGpic.twitter.com/FNiU5bhJ5V
Since then, she has participated in many triathlons, including the brutal Ironman in Hawaii, all while wearing a hijab. A firm believer in the power of sports, she says that clothing must never be a reason for not participating in one. She has even designed a range of sportswear to encourage Iranian women to do just that.
7. HEDAYA MALAK WAHBA (TAEKWONDO)
Hedaya represented Egypt in both the 2012 and the 2016 Olympics, winning a bronze in the latter. She started learning the sport at the age of 6 and won the country championship at 14.
(Writing by Susan Muthalaly; Editing by Seban Scaria firstname.lastname@example.org)
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