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Boxing association rewrites rules to accommodate hijab wearing boxers

29th Mar 2019

Elham Asaad Buaras

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) amended its guidelines on February 9 to accommodate Muslim female boxers who wear hijabs.

AIBA announced the change at its Executive Committee Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

“Additionally, a positive update has been made to the uniforms, which now allows for sports hijabs to be used by female boxers should they want due to religious reasons and for uniforms to include colors of countries,” AIBA said in a statement.

“All updates and approvals are in line with AIBA’s commitment to ensure equality and fair-play within the sport of boxing – the full list of updates will be provided to all National Federations in the coming weeks,” the statement continues.

Five-time German featherweight champ Zeina Nassar played a major role in reforming the discriminatory rule, after fighting and winning the right to box in her home country.

Reacting to the news on her Instagram, Nassar who is also Nike Pro Hijab ambassador, wrote, “It’s only crazy until it’s reality. #justdoit The International Boxing Association rewrote the rules, allowing women everywhere to box in hijabs. A huge win for me and for women across the world.”

In her previous posts she wrote, “I fight the prejudices by boxing with my headscarf. I always had to fight them because I had to hear that women with headscarves are not educated, are forced to wear the headscarf and have no freedom. I prove them wrong, those are only clichés”.

“We live in the 21st century and it cannot be that we still have problems with it in sports,” she added.

The restriction on competing while wearing a hijab has been a long-time issue in boxing, most notably in the case of 15-year-old American boxer Amaiya Zafar who challenged US Boxing rules that prevented her from fighting.

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