Minnesota (US): Amaiya Zafar, a 15-year-old girl from Minnesota, a Midwestern U.S. State bordering Canada opted for the profession which she loves without removing Hijab.
She opted boxing. Mohammed, her father is her first coach of boxing. He showed her videos and taught her about amateur boxing. After the brief training by her father, she stepped into a gym and then the ring.
Sharing her experience in the ring, Zafar in an interview said “All the boys around the ring kept telling ‘She’s just a girl’” but after the last jab, she said her opponents “I might be a girl, but you hit like a girl.”
Although, Zafar opted for boxing but there are many obstacle in Zafar’s way. As per the international rules that governs the sport, Hijab is not allowed in competition but she wants to wear a Hijab under her boxing headgear and uniform.
According to International Boxing Rules, she cannot cover her arms and her legs below the knees. However, as USA Boxing rules defers from the rules of AIBA, the international boxing organization had requested a provisional ruling for AIBA.
Meanwhile, Michael Martino, Interim Executive Director cited safety as a consideration for the rules. He also said that if one religious group is allowed then other may also request for relaxation in sports uniform.
It is to be noted that Zafar isn’t the first athlete to fight to wear a Hijab during sports, in the spring of 2014 FIFA also lifted a ban on players wearing Hijab.
Talking about the international rules, Zafar who wanted to wear a long-sleeved under Armour shirt and leggings beneath her tank top and shorts said that the rules are old and it need to be changed.