Muslim Amateur Women Boxers Can Now Wear Hijabs

AIBA now recognizes religious diversity.

AIBA, the international boxing association, has given its consent to new uniforms which will be worn by female boxers and is in accordance with the Islamic religion. A statement released by AIBA said that form fitting-uniforms which cover the whole body and hijabs have been designed such that the competition will not be compromised. The health of participating boxers will not be affected by the competitive clothing.

The new permit is a welcome change from the old rule where the boxing association strongly objected to the particular material of which the head coverings were tailored of, stating that they were not a sports-like fit there was a probability of it coming off. If it does, then such an instance would interfere in AIBA conducted competitions. The association terms these new rules a sign of its robust commitment to religious tolerance and gender equality.

The new rules were set by the convened AIBA Executive Committee in Istanbul. The committee gave its nod to the new allowances and stated it does not foresee any problem if the boxers integrate their national colors into the clothes. Anything can be done as long as it complies with the officially released guidelines. The new rule has no objection to participants wearing form-fitting uniforms and hijabs.

The new rules have already earned accolades from several female boxers. One of them is Zeina Nassar, a German citizen who wears the hijab. In her statement on February 25, she said as a Muslim-female boxer, it was a proud moment to witness the many positive changes which have been done by the International Boxing Association for its athletes’ best interests. She said it is a good sign that boxing is no longer seen as a sport only to be played by men. The last few years have seen real developments in women’s boxing. She also appreciated AIBA’s acceptance of religious differences.

Nassar pointed out that boxing welcomes diversity and is appreciative to witness the sport’s continuous evolution. The AIBA is currently subjected to scrutiny by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The latter stopped making formal plans for both women and men boxing tournaments for the 2020 games scheduled to be held in Tokyo.

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