7 seriously impressive hijabi sportswomen you should know about

7 seriously impressive hijabi sportswomen you should know about

7 seriously impressive hijabi sportswomen you should know about
Health & Fitness
Disclaimer: Female German boxer, Zeina Nassar (right). Instagram/@zeina.boxer


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.


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.



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.



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.

Nike Hijab Zahra Lari figure skater

Disclaimer: UAE figureskater Zahra Lari wears the Nike Pro Hijab / Photo courtesy of Zahra Lari


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.


Kulsoom is the first female weightlifter from Pakistan and made history for competing while covered in 2011.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, close-up

Disclaimer: Pakistani weightlifter, Kulsoom Abdullah. Source: Facebook / Kulsoom Abdullah. Photographer: Elizabeth Day



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.


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.

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.


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.

Hedaya Malak Rio2016b.jpg

Disclaimer: Taekwondo at the 2016 Summer Olympics – Women's 57 kg. Hedaya Malak (Egypt), bronze medal. By Tasnim News Agency via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0


(Writing by Susan Muthalaly; Editing by Seban Scaria

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