10 Athletes Who Wear Hijab and Make Us Proud December 15, 2016 – Posted in: Inspiration, Sports – Tags: Amaiya Zafar, Amna Al Haddad, Archery, Athletes, Ballet, Basketball, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, Boxing, Ezdihar Abdulmula, Fencing, Figure Skating, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Loose-fitting Activewear, Marjan Kalhor, Modest Activewear, Modest Sportswear, Muslim Athletes, Najmeh Abtin, Rahf Khatib, Running, Skiing, Sports Hijab, Stephanie Kurlow, Weightlifting, Zahra Lari
1. Stephanie Kurlow, Ballerina.
“I can bring people together, through dance,” says the 15-year-old ballerina from Sydney! Stephanie’s family converted to Islam in 2010; naturally, she thought that wearing a hijab would not permit her to pursue a career as a professional ballet dancer. However, she has raised a fund to attend ballet school and chasing the dream to open a ballet school for people from all different culture.What inspire us is that, this driven young woman saw her hijab as an opportunity not a limitation.
2. Rahf Khatib, Runner.
“It’s something I can show to my kids in the future,my community and most importantly my parents. It means that my sweat, tears and training are worth it,” says Rahaf Khatif. The mother of three from Farmington Hills, Michigan is the first woman wearing hijab to be featured in an American lifestyle fitness magazine, according to NBC News. Rahaf refers to herself as an average but a persistent runner, persistent enough to bring attention to Women’s Running Magazine about the lack of representation of Muslim Hijabi women. She reached out to the magazine,they recognized her valuable comment, and the result was her on the cover page! Rahaf’s story shows all women that they can be the change they want to see in the world!
3. Ibtihaj Muhammad, Fencer.
Summer Olympics 2016, was a historical moment for all American Muslim women, when Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first athlete to represent the United States while wearing the Hijab. The 31-year-old graduated with a double major of International Relations and African American Studies from Duke University. “It’s a blessing to represent so many people who don’t have voices, who don’t speak up, and it’s been a really remarkable experience for me,” says the Olympian who won the Bronze medal this summer! Simply amazing.
4. Amaiya Zafar, Boxer.
Amaiya’s career started as a joke between the young 16-year-old and her dad, “I would box before I would fence, I’m not having someone shove blades at me. I’d rather be punched in the face!” she told him. Her dad responded with a laugh, “Alright, I’ll find a boxing gym for you to try out.” And Amaiya had no objection. She trains daily and teaches classes to women and youth, at the Stir Boxing ring. Amaiya, her family and The Council on American-Islamic Relations are requesting the USA Boxing to pass a ruling about wearing the hijab in the ring, which is currently prohibited because of “safety hazard” reasons. “Times change, and rules need to change with them,” says Amaiya about the policy. She says she will continue to train every day, awaiting the day the rules change. By then, she says she will be ready!
5. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, Basketball Player. <h/2>
This Muslim-American collegiate is a basketball player for the University of Memphis, she was excited and working hard toward her dream of achieving a professional basketball player, and playing at an International level. However The International Federation of Basketball prohibits the head scarf. That doesn’t stop her. She is raising awareness on the issue; she was successful on court; she scored over 3,000 points which breaks both male and female records in Massachusetts; she was an honor student, now a Basketball Trainer, Athletic Director at Pleasant View School, Motivational Speaker; and there is no stopping her!
6. Zahra Lari, Figure Skater. <h/2>
Zahra is a 21-year-old competitive figure skater from the United Arab Emirates.She represented her country in the International competitions that took place such as Slovakia, Hungary and Italy. And that’s not all, Zahra dreams big. Her plan is to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. “I wish for all young women to find their passion, to not let small obstacles look like mountains, to strive for their own betterment and to not see the differences in people but to only see the likeness,” she says. Words from this figure skater is what we cherish. She hopes to inspire all women, Muslim and non-Muslims.
7. Amna Al Haddad, Weightlifter. <h/2>
Amna is an Olympic weightlifter from the United Arab Emirates, her first competition was in 2011 and since then she has been part of countless international competitions till she made her first appearance in the olympics in 2013. Then again in 2016 she was part of the UAE Olympic Team. Amna is a six-time Gold Medalist. And lists keep going of the most her amazing achievements… such as motivational speaker, published writer, and the first woman crossfitter.
8. Marjan Kalhor, Skier. <h/2>
Marjan is the first Iranian woman to participate in the 2010 Winter Olympic games. The 28 year old was her nation’s flag bearer during the Opening Ceremony. She started skiing at age of four and won her first national competition when she was 11! “Since Turin, I’ve told myself that if Iran allows women to compete in the next Olympics, I have to be the first,” she says. Marjan is pursuing an education in physical education, and still trains in the aims of participating in every winter olympics that she can! What a balancing act!
9. Najmeh Abtin, Archer. <h/2>
The 34 year old is an athlete from Iran that competes in archery, Iranian female archer, Najmeh Abtin who will compete in the Beijing Olympics practices during a training session at Tarasht sport complex in Tehran on 09 July 2008. For the first time in the history of the Olympics, three Iranian women will participate at the Beijing games in Archery, Taekwando and Rowing. She scored a total of 568 points in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Najmeh is from Iran wear being part of sports as a woman has it’s difficulties. Archery is a highly growing sports and nothing does us more pleasure than to see a hijabi being part of it!
10. Ezdihar Abdulmula, Basketball Player. <h/2>
“I enjoyed playing a number of sports as a child, basketball became by passion at the age of 18 where I began playing for my University and local team. I love playing basketball because it challenges me, and I get to play with a team that I can share my experiences with and learn from,” says Ezdihar Abdulmula. She started a basketball team to allow all women to participate with the chance to be trained by experienced athletes. Ezdihar aims is to empower all women from all different backgrounds and ages to try basketball! Her focus on inclusivity inspires us!