DUBAI: A 16-year-old Muslim boxer from Minnesota has won a fight to wear a hijab during matches in the US.
Amaiya Zafar, who hopes to one day compete in the Olympics, will also be allowed to cover her arms and legs while competing in her first sanctioned match this month in Minneapolis under a USA Boxing exemption, The Star Tribune reported.
“This is a big step,” said, Nathaniel Haile, her coach as the organization normally requires boxers to wear a sleeveless jersey and shorts.
“She’s put a lot of labor into this. She earned the right to showcase her skills, and I’m happy for her. But it’s just the first step in letting her achieve her dreams.”
Zafar is set to fight her first match on April 29 at the Spring Fling Amateur Boxing tournament in Minneapolis.
“I’m ready,” Zafar told the Star Tribune. “You get so invested. My weight is in the right place. My head is in the game.”
She was previously turned away from a fight in Florida in the fall when boxing officials told her she could not wear leggings, long sleeves or her hijab, which is the headscarf worn by some Muslim women.
Zafar said her goal is to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She still would have to persuade the international boxing organization, the AIBA, to allow her to box in her modest attire.