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New dress code for females opens weightlifting up across Muslim world

21 May 2012 General 21 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
UAE'S Weightlifter Yasmin Yousef trains at the Al Shabab club in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National

UAE'S Weightlifter Yasmin Yousef trains at the Al Shabab club in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National

by , The National

DUBAI // The Emirates Weightlifting Federation believe the UAE is leading the way for females across the Islamic world, after becoming the first team to compete at an international competition while wearing hijabs.

The national women’s team earned a place at the London Olympics when they participated at the Asian Championships in South Korea last month.

Until recently, the rules governing the sport stipulated uniforms had to be collarless and could not cover elbows or knees, essentially because judges need to see that a competitor’s elbows and knees are locked during a lift.

However, those dress regulations were modified by the International Weightlifting Federation, after being challenged last year by a Muslim American who wanted to wear Islamic dress while competing in US national competitions.

Officials at the governing body for the sport in this country, who were vocal advocates for the change, insist the amended dress code will open the sport to a whole new audience.

“It was a decision which will help the whole Islamic world,” said Sheikh Sultan bin Mejren, the president of the Emirates Weightlifting Federation.

“Now there is no difference between Muslims and non-Muslims in events like the Olympics. There is no border to accept them or not. Everybody can participate without breaking rules.”

The UAE initially targeted female weightlifting as an area where they could make their mark in international competition, when they adopted a new strategic plan to develop the sport four years ago.

They have achieved one sizeable triumph already by being granted a qualifying place for the Olympics later this year.

However, the most significant mark they have made to date may be measured less by medals or trophies, as by the trail they have created for aspiring female lifters to follow.

“We were the first country for our athletes to be covered, wearing Islamic dress,” said Jassim Abdulrahman Al Awazi, a board member for the Emirates Weightlifting Federation and the GCC Weightlifting Organisation.

“It is very good for Muslim countries that this issue has been raised. It is not forced, it is a choice for the athletes if they want to wear it.

“Now it has been opened to everyone. If you want to join, why not? Now there are no excuses, no reasons to say no.”

pradley@thenational.ae

Original post: New dress code for females opens weightlifting up across Muslim world

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21 Comments »

  1. The very phrase “dress code for females” is disgusting, condescending, immoral and pathetic. Your women can’t think for themselves, can they? They need their men to dictate what they can wear? This is what you consider “Progress”? well?

  2. The very phrase “dress code for females” is disgusting, condescending, immoral and pathetic. Your women can’t think for themselves, can they? They need their men to dictate what they can wear? This is what you consider “Progress”? well?

  3. The very phrase “dress code for females” is disgusting, condescending, immoral and pathetic. Your women can’t think for themselves, can they? They need their men to dictate what they can wear? This is what you consider “Progress”? well?

  4. There are dress codes for males as well, Stephen. You’re on an “Americans Against Islamophobia” page, not one that supports it.

  5. ^^^^No they let there Lord dictate and that is true liberation and progression and to not succumb to ones whims and desires.

  6. Women in the West r brainwashed into thinking they have to be half naked. They r what their bodies are and if they don’t have a nice body then they aren’t worth anything. BRAINWASHED, not liberated!!! Muslim women r liberated! I used to be one of the west women but now I’m Muslim and Proud!

  7. Disgusting, condescending, immoral and pathetic are woman with no morals and where to please men so they are looked at. I think this says more to allowing men to dictate what they wear. Is this what you consider Progress? Well? I admire the women that think for themselves and do not care to be an object of a man’s eye.

  8. Disgusting, condescending, immoral and pathetic are woman with no morals and where to please men so they are looked at. I think this says more to allowing men to dictate what they wear. Is this what you consider Progress? Well? I admire the women that think for themselves and do not care to be an object of a man’s eye.

  9. How about a women’s archery team? One of my dreams is to join the US Women’s archery team & have my daughters watch me compete.

  10. So the rules have been thrown out once again.

  11. Only from the specific vantage point of a male heterosexual are female bodies inherently more sexually provocative than male bodies. If a woman wants to hold herself to a particular idea of morality as it applies to her appearance, then she should be free to do so. But that cuts both ways. If a woman wants to lift weights and wear clothing practical for that activity (just like men), I see no valid justification for stopping her or shaming her for it. If you want people to respect your own way of life, have some tolerance for theirs as well.

  12. I am a swimmer. I have been a competitive swimmer my entire life. I also instruct and coach swimming teams. I have had girls who want to compete but cannot because of their dress codes – approved Islamic dress codes for women do not include swimwear that is appropriate for competition. In each case where a girl quit swimming competitively, it was not because she didn’t want to swim, but it was because her parents didn’t want her swimming in swimwear that would allow her to compete (i.e., did not create so much drag that it would make her time slower than her competition).

    FWIW, the vitriol spewed above is counterproductive. Americans against Islamophobia are on your side, ladies. If you come on here and call us disgusting or immoral or only out to please men by having them look at us, you’re missing the point entirely. I wear clothing that is *appropriate to my activity*, and men are supposed to be mature and moral enough to understand that. Quit alienating the ones who are in your corner.

  13. Also, I did have two girls who kept swimming in their full garb – they would just mentally calculate the time they would have made without the extra drag and they were quite happy! I just loved it that they loved swimming enough to stick with it and didn’t care so much about the competition.

  14. I have total respect for any woman who does what it tkes to be a weightlifter on an international level. I don’t care what she wears while doing it

  15. so how are they going to judge if the knees or elbows are locked during a lift? another example of the western world bending our culture to allow muslims to participate. yet you see few muslim nations or federation accomidating western culture.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/04/dubai-kissing-couple-jail_n_524736.html

    Haneefah Gayle Gililland,

    “Women in the West r brainwashed into thinking they have to be half naked.” wow that’s a pretty broad brush?

    but anyways do you support sharia?

    Rayeann Noyes,

    do you support sharia?

    Dorothy Ann McQuaid

    do you support sharia?

  16. hey mike do u support retards? Oh, wait that’s a rhetorical question if u didn’t know.

  17. Clothing which covers the knees and elbows can give an unfair advantage – the judges can’t tell if they are locking correctly and the elasticity of the material over the joints and the bunching of the material behind the joints can make a lot of difference.

  18. m bennet,

    you crack me up. but yes i supprort retards. they need support due to their lack of mental capacity. i support you. oh wait that was a rhetorical question. oh well.

    man what heights you have fallen from. you used to make intelligent argueements. now you sound like many of the facebook people.

    given your passed argueements i’m putting you down as a supporter of sharia. so, so far that is 1 for 0 against.

  19. I feel very sorry for people who have nothing better to do with their lives than to troll this page. Nobody here cares what you have to say, Mike. Next time try writing in proper English if you want people to take you seriously.

  20. alice,

    “Next time try writing in proper English if you want people to take you seriously.” i try proper english but me dyslecsia get better of me sometimes. don’t you know i’m a retard? so please feel free to corect my english and my spelling is even worsted. are you related to duece prez.

    “I feel very sorry for people who have nothing better to do with their lives than to troll this page” ok, so what does that say about you. i love this page. ever since i got rid of my cable it’s my funnest past time. well other then taking the boat out or going to rays games or drinking or bucs games, can’t wait til the season starts, or of course fornicating. i got a lot of lashes coming, so thanks for your pity. lol

    “Nobody here cares what you have to say, Mike” oh well. so your thoughtful arguement against my points are to personally attack me. lol. you sure you don’t belong commenting from facebook.

    some of us can multitask. this doesn’t take long.

  21. The first one to wear hijab, (the headscarf to cover her head, arms and legs) at an international weightlifting competition (and USA National) was the Muslim American mentioned in this sentence:

    “However, those dress regulations were modified by the International Weightlifting Federation, after being challenged last year by a Muslim American who wanted to wear Islamic dress while competing in US national competitions.”

    See:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/globetrotting/chi-usoc-lifted-the-bar-for-muslim-woman-20120412,0,5770306.column

    http://www.liftingcovered.com/category/press-coverage/

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