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Dhaka Tribune

Judoka’s hijab sparks social media with controversy

Miftahul, 21, who is visually impaired, was scheduled to compete against Oyun Gantulga of Mongolia in the women's 52-kilogram competition on October 8th

Update : 16 Oct 2018, 06:35 PM

Indonesian judoka Miftahul Jannah was disqualified from the 2018 Asian Para Games on October 8th for refusing to remove her hijab, which, under rules set by several international sports governing bodies, she is not allowed to wear during competitions.

But the incident sparked social media with some people hailing the young judoka for her stance while some others thought the authority was right to follow the laws. 

It was reported in some media that hearing of the incident, a member of parliament gifted her ticket to Umrah. On the other hand some were arguing that she should have known the laws before attending the event. They thought the authority was right to follow the rule, where players’ safety is prioritized over anything else. 

The International Judo Federation forbids the wearing of several types of garments, including "any kind of head cap or cover" during competitions.

In a section on hygiene, the IJF states that "the head may not be covered, except for bandaging of a medical nature."

Those who do not comply with these requirements shall be refused the right to compete, the sport's governing body says.

The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSF) has imposed similar restrictions.

Miftahul, 21, who is visually impaired, was scheduled to compete against Oyun Gantulga of Mongolia in the women's 52-kilogram competition on October 8th.

Miftah took her case to Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, immediately gaining the minister’s attention. She admitted to him that she had known about the head covering regulation and said that her actions were deliberate, adding that she wanted to bring about a change in the sport. Imam backed the judoka, confirming his commitment to help her in challenging the IJF’s head covering rules. 

At a glance, Miftah seems to follow in the footsteps of Saudi Arabian judoka Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani, who managed to change the rules at the 2012 London Olympics when she wore a modified headscarf while competing.

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