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More Inclusive Sport? Just Do It

ABU DHABI, UAE -- April 21: Zahra Lari, United Arab Emirates first prominent female figure skater poses for a portrait in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Thursday, April 21, 2016. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

More Inclusive Sport? Just Do It

How the new athletic product from Nike is making sport more accessible for Muslim women

More Inclusive Sport? Just Do It

Nike has developed a new piece of athletic wear specifically for Muslim women. Earlier this month the company showcased its new “Nike Pro Hijab”, a performance wear head cover that can be easily pulled on. According to Nike, the product is made with soft, lightweight polyester that is both breathable and opaque. It will come in a range of sizes and colours.

pro-hijab

Nike are joining other, smaller companies who have been making ranges of athletic headwear for some time now. Emirati ice skater Zahra Lari has come out in support of the design, and is already wearing the product for her own competition. “I was thrilled and a bit emotional to see Nike prootyping a Hijab,” Lari told CNN Money. “I’ve tried so many different hijabs for performance, and .. so few of them actually work.” Other Muslim women expressed their excitement about the project on Twiter.

Despite progress being made in this space, activewear options for Muslim women who wish to cover their hair still remain limited. Often they are prohibited from competition.

Earlier this month, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a young female basketball player from Massachusetts, could not take her successful highschool basketball career into the professional league, because the International Basketball Federation does not allow religious head coverings in official competitions.

In the current political climate, response to the product has been mixed. However it is clear that many female athletes see the product as creating another opportunity for women to compete in sport. Olympic weightlifter Amna Al Haddad has said that she supports anything that gives options for women, “I support Muslim women with or without hijab, and how they dress is their choice,” she said. ‘And with the Nike sports hijab, it surely will encourage a new generation of athletes to pursue sports professionally.”

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