Hijab Boxers in 2012 Olympics
- From: " I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshipped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger." <muslim.with.mission@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2010 11:01:59 -0500
Hijab Boxers in 2012 Olympics
IslamOnline.net & Newspapers
CAIRO - The International Boxing Association, which awards world and subordinate championships, said Muslim boxers will be allowed to play in the 2012 Olympics while observing their religious dress code.
"At the moment there is nothing preventing women boxers from wearing full Islamic dress," an IBA spokesman told the Sunday Times on October 4.
The 2012 summer Games in London will be the first time women allowed to box under the Olympic banner.
The International Olympic Committee said women will compete at three weights; flyweight (48 - 51kg), lightweight (56 - 60kg) and middleweight (69 - 75kg), with 12 boxers taking part in each category.
Many Muslim nations are considering sending female boxers, including many donning hijab, to the Olympics.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
"Obviously, religious requirements should be taken into account and we want to be as inclusive as we can," said the IBA official.
The issue of hijab in sports was thrust into the spotlight in the West recently.
Last January, an American high-school Muslim star runner was pulled out from a local competition for wearing hijab.
An 11-year-old Canadian kid was also thrown out from a national Judo tournament for wearing hijab.
In March 2007, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game's ultimate regulators, said hijab is forbidden in soccer games.
A group of veiled Afghan boxers are already preparing to contest the 2012 Olympics qualifications.
"In a country ravaged by 30 years of war and run by a conservative male-dominated society, these female boxers are Afghanistan's most improbable ambassadors for peace," Oxfam, a London-based charity sponsoring the Afghan female boxers team, told the Times.
"We are proud to support these athletes who challenge preconceived notions about Afghan women through peace building."
The Afghan national female boxing team includes about 25 boxers with ages ranging between 14 and 25.
They are now involved in grueling training sessions at Kabul's Olympic stadium under their coach Fadir Sharify, a former professional boxer who has persuade the families that it is not inappropriate to take to the ring.
Mirwais Wardak, who runs Fighting for Peace, the Kabul boxing program, said the team is a big step forward for Afghan woman, challenging stereotypes about how women should behave.
UK Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, who lobbied for women's boxing to be recognized as an official Olympic sport, hopes to see the Afghan female boxers reach the London Olympics.
"The fact that these women have formed a boxing team in a country where women are routinely harassed for taking part in sport should be applauded," said Jowell.
"Their courage deserves to succeed."
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