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6 Inspiring Hijabi Athletes

Published on February 05, 2020


Watching athletes breaking barriers worldwide can be quite inspirational. But watching a Muslim woman not only compete but also become a champion in her sport fills the heart with pride. Hijabi athletes are not often seen in the limelight and hence it is very much important to highlight them. So without further ado, let's take a look at some of the powerful and inspiring hijabi athletes who are successful in the world of sports.

Raianne Alameddine, Boxer

The first amateur boxer from New South Wales to fight to wear a headscarf, Raiannewas inspired by her elder brother after watching him train. She wanted the independence he had to be able to defend herself.

Initially, she was asked to remove her hijab during a fight or never compete in a sanctioned bout. She asked the authorities about why she was asked to make such a choice about her beliefs as a Muslim Woman. Truly an inspiring woman, it is good to see passionate youngsters like her.

raianne-alameddine

Ibtihaj Muhammad, Fencer

Ibtihajis another one of the inspiring Muslim athletes who made history when she became the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab to represent the United States at the Olympics. Such was her power that shewas named in the Time Magazine's 100 most influential list and is considered an important figure among global icons.

She has been a keynote speaker, amongst the best panel discussions that voice upon several topics including entrepreneurship, technology, leadership, overcoming obstacles, fashion, beauty, and activism. She has also appeared in a wide range of media channels such as TIME, CNN, Forbes, ELLE, New York Times, Pop Sugar, and Essence.

A hijab-wearing doll was released by Barbie, resembling Ibtihaj.

"I'm proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true" says Ibtihaj.

ibtihaj-muhammad

Zahra Lari, Figure Skater

As she was growing up, Zahra Lari was not allowed to join ice-skating competitions due to the revealing nature of the clothes. Today, she is the first woman to participate as an international icon skating competition wearing a hijab.

In fact, during the 2012 European Cup in Canazei, Italy, she was the first skater to compete proudly flaunting her hijab due to which the judges reduced a point for an outfit violation. After this incident, she started a campaignto change the regulations.

Her inspiration to skate began after watching the Disney movie "Ice Princess". This young skater always had bigger ambitions than simply representing her nation at the Winter Olympics. Currently, she has set her eyes on competing at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and also the World Championships.

Kulsoom Abdullah, Weightlifting

A Pakistani-American weightlifter, Kulsoom was the first person to compete in weightlifting wearing a hijab. She represented Pakistan as their first female weightlifter at the 2011 World Weightlifting Championships in Paris, France. She has also represented her nation at the Asian Weightlifting Championship in South Korea.

As per the previous International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) rules, an athlete's knees and elbows should be visible to determine if a lift is properlyimplemented. But Kulsoom was cleared to compete as per her Muslim faith after IWF allowed athletes to wear a full-body unitard as per the normal weightlifting uniform.

Amna Al Haddad, Weightlifting

An expert on women's sports and a mental health advocate, Amna Al Haddad is a self-made sportswoman and her work has been recognized by the prominent leaders, international brands, and global media.

Amna is a weightlifter from the UAE who has numerous achievements across global competitions such as the Arnold Sports Festival and the IWF in Asian Interclub Championship. She has been awarded six gold medals and three silver in the Arab, West Asian, and Asian categories.

Even though she started her career as a journalist, she moved to sports to enhance her mental and physical health. Amna is the first Emirati female sportswoman to be signed by Nike in 2015. This partnership led to the creation of the Nike Pro Hijab. Amna became not only inspiration behind Nike's revolutionary product but was also consulted concerning the needs of Muslim women athletes.

Apart from the above, Amna was also featured in the international bestseller Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls in the list of 100 global inspirational women thus earning her a spot in the kids book as well as in their hearts.

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Shirin Gerami, Triathlete

She is the first female triathlete representing Iran in the World Championships which includes both the Triathlon World Championships in London and the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Shirin completed and finished in this event completely covered while most competitors were barely clothed.

As a child, she had the least interest in sportsbecause girls were not encouraged to play sports in Iran where she was born and was living till the age of 15. In schools, during physical education, she was quite weak. "There was never a seriously sporty session. It was more of girls sitting around a courtyard reading books", says Shirin.

While she does not wear the hijab in her everyday life, she abides by the Iranian regulations that need female sportswomen to be fully covered. Hence, she was determined to find athletic wear that would meet the Islamic standards. She also hopes that clothes do not act as a barrier to participate in any kind of sports.

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