Beating the odds, Hijab-clad Majiziya now prepares for World Championship

When Majiziya Bhanu, a Muslim arm wrestler was looking for sponsors to represent India in the international level many looked down upon her not because she lacked in talent but because she was a Muslim and wore hijab.

Majiziya Bhanu a Kozhikode based BDS student and also an arm wrestler has won most attention for her hijab-clad look and not her talent, TOI reported.

This brave 24-year-old paying a deaf ear to all those who were against her hijab trying to pull her down stormed through it all and has finally managed to get a sponsor to represent India in the World Arm Wrestling Championship in Turkey, in October.

Majiziya had recently won a gold medal in the National Arm Wrestling Championship in Kochi and Mr Kerala (female) title held in Lucknow in May this year.

Winning this title made her eligible for the World Championship. “I travelled across the State in search of a sponsor and being someone with motion sickness while travelling in buses, it took a toll on me and also affected my preparations,” says Majiziya.

She is now busy preparing for her final exams to devote her time to her passion and World Championship.

‘They weren’t helping me as a professional sportsperson, but as someone they care for. But there is a limit to which you can trouble them and so I approached many individuals and even companies, to see whether they can sponsor me” says Majiziya who recalled help by her friends and relatives.

‘Go win the nationals and we will take care of it when you compete at the international level’ Majizia recalls.
But when the deadline to source the funds for the world championship was near and must by July 10 she started calling everyone who promised to spnsor her but to her surprise, most responses were negative with a few of them saying that could adversely affect them.

“They said that they cannot make an individual decision and will have to convene board meetings, which can take time. Moreover, they said they feared whether supporting a hijab-clad athlete would lead to issues. ‘Enthina vayyaveli eduthu thalayil vekkunnathu (Why take the unnecessary risk)?’ was the typical reaction.”

Discouraged with the responses she says, “Even my mom, who is my greatest support, began asking, ‘What did you gain out of all this, other than a few photographs in newspapers?’ But I kept assuring her that it’s all a passing phase and tried telling that myself too.”

And fortunately, financial aid did come from various sources for the arm wrestler who will be contesting in the World Championship in Turkey this year.

When asked if hijab was a hindrance to her success she replied: “Well, if there is a Muslim woman working in your office, it is only natural that she might be wearing a hijab. Similarly, I was doing the same at my workspace — sports. I got noticed because there isn’t anyone else sporting it in this field. I never felt it was unnecessary, but I was disappointed when my sponsorship was denied for that reason. Then again, not anymore.”