She Wasn’t Allowed To Box In Her Hijab, But This Girl’s Rival Had Her Back
She was just about to pull on her gloves ahead of the national championships.
However instead of taking to the ring moments later, Amaiya Zafar was disqualified from the competition.
The reason? The hijab and long-sleeved top she was wearing underneath her sporting gear.
The American teen, who had been hoping to participate in Florida’s Sugar Bert Boxing National Championships this month, was told the modest additions under her uniform were “clearly a safety issue” so she wasn’t allowed to compete.
Victory was instead automatically given to her opponent, Aliyah Charbonier.
Meet The Young Muslims Fighting Back Against Islamophobia In Stunning Photos
This 20-Something Is Teaching Muslim Women To Defend Themselves From The ‘Hijab Grab’
Yes, We’re Finally Getting A Hijab Emoji Next Year
American Muslims Say They’re Now Scared To Wear The Hijab
CoverGirl Signs Up Hijabi Blogger To Front Huge Beauty Campaign
However the title didn’t sit right with Charbonier, who decided to give the belt to Zafar instead.
“This girl comes up to me then and puts her belt in my lap and says, ‘This is yours. They disqualified you. You’re the true winner. This is unfair’,” Zafar, a 16-year-old Muslim from Minnesota, told the Washington Post. “Then we started hugging each other, and the owner [of the event] came and got me to make sure I got [a belt.]”
Charbonier says her heart-warming action was made because the situation “just wasn’t right”.
“It’s not really a distraction for me what she’s wearing. She still had on gloves and headgear. I felt really bad for her. They didn’t give her a chance to fight,” the 15-year-old told the publication.
“We tried to tell them that it was all right, but for safety purposes they say they need to have a visual of your arms. And yet they still have 18-year-olds fighting 20-somethings. It wasn’t right.”
— Mohammad Zafar (@Mohammadzafar) January 3, 2016
Zafar has been boxing for two years, and has spent most of that time fighting to change the uniform regulations set by the International Boxing Association.
The rules, USA Boxing chief Michael Martino says, are all to do with safety.
“If you’re covering up arms, if you’re covering up legs, could there be preexisting injury?” he told MPR News. “And then if someone got hurt during the event, the referee wouldn’t be able to see it.”
However Zafar, who admits she struggles to find opponents in her weight and age group, told the Washington Post the rules are “old school”.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting them changed.”
Image: Los Charbonier/Facebook