Those who stereotype women in hijabs should watch Doaa El-Ghobashy and Nada Meawad of Egypt play beach volleyball.
Wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers, the Egyptian Olympians made their debut in the sport on Sunday, silencing critics who believe Muslim women cannot participate in games, and creating a storm of comment on social media that soon overtook the fact that the Egyptians lost to Germany 21-12, 21-15 in this first round match.
Read Latest Rio Updates: Gymnast Dipa Karmakar Becomes 1st Indian To Qualify For Vault Finals
A picture says it all….
Egypt v Germany, Beach Volleyball.
This is why we do the Olympics. pic.twitter.com/DT19Zm5ube
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) August 8, 2016
While most of the teams have dressed in bikinis since women’s beach volleyball was introduced in 1996, the Egyptian debutants were fully clothed in their traditional hijabs, making their game less about audience voyeurism and more about the sport itself.
“I have worn the hijab for 10 years. It doesn’t keep me away from the things I love to do, and beach volleyball is one of them,” El-Ghobashy told the Associated Press.
Egyptian beach volleyball player: Hijab won't keep me from sport #Rio2016 pic.twitter.com/Vcwyq2a1xp
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) August 8, 2016
The International Volleyball Federation had reportedly agreed to relax regulations regarding beach volleyball uniforms before the 2008 London Games, so that women from different countries could compete in the biggest sports event in the world. As a result, more countries sent women’s teams for beach volleyball in Rio this year.
Meanwhile, the world is waiting to see Saudi Arabia’s four-member women’s team comprising Sara Al-Attar (athletics), Lubna Al-Omair (fencing), Cariman Abu Al-Jadail (athletics) and Wujud Fahmi (judo) compete. This is only the second time that Saudi Arabia has sent a women’s team to the Olympics.
Sportspeople tell us that the Olympics are about breaching limits and breaking boundaries. These feisty women are certainly proving that.
Also Read: Creating ‘inclusive’ fitness fashion: Arshiya Kherani of Sukoon
Read more from our Rio series here
Feature Image Credit: www.firstpost.com