“USA Weightlifting told The Lookout in a statement that “uniforms must not cover either the knees or the elbows because the judges must be able to see that the lifter has locked out his or her knees and elbows in order for the lift to be deemed completed.”   The IWF will discuss Abdullah’s request at a June 26 meeting in Penang, Malaysia.   United States Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Jones says the group is committed to being “inclusive” but that it’s up to the IWF to decide if the modified uniform would provide a “competitive advantage”.”

Clearly, she is a CrossFit athlete.   Evenso, the rules here make sense because they aid the judges in determining technique and completion.

The word hijab is Arabic and literal means ‘curtain; cover’.   Other definitions include ‘modesty’, ‘morality’ and ‘privacy’.   From a metaphysical perspective, the word means ‘the veil which separates man or the world from God‘.

Its use is not just debated in sports, but among Muslims themselves, who argue whether women must be covered in such a manner or not, and if so, to what degree.   In sports, there have been several high profile rulings regarding the hijab; here are but two:

The Iranian woman’s Olympic football team ..

The ‘Burka Boxers’ ..

Though some Muslim groups argue this is a matter of choosing between “faith and sport”, I disagree.   Sports is an athletic arena, where the physical form is not just presented for its aesthetic appearance, but for competitive advantage, and for judging purposes.

As a Master Yoga Instructor/Personal Fitness Trainer it is imperative that I am able to observe a students form to prevent them from injury and to assure proper alignment.   This is to their benefit, for it helps them develop and hone their practice.   I have had Orthodox Jewish Women in my classes – who cover the collarbone, elbows and knees – which is enough for Yoga; but the issue here is competitive sports.

And strictly on a personal note, the hijab is a far cry from the original ancient Greek model of the Olympic Games, who competed naked.

Eitherway, as much as I am a woman who supports women in empowering events – such as competitive athletics – I can only side with the ruling body here based on safety and the ability to properly judge any given event.

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