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Muslim Athletes Can Now Use Special Hijabs, Courtesy of Nike

By Charles Omedo , Mar 11, 2017 02:26 AM EST
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Athletics products-manufacturing company Nike has unveiled a new religious head-scarf for Muslim female athletes. The new performance gear is known as the Nike Pro Hijab. The sports hijab will come in three distinct colors and will be available in the market from next year.

Many Muslim female athletes are already praising Nike for the initiative, and select female athletes are testing out the new sports hijab at the moment. Muslim athletes before this time were not allowed to put on religious garbs because they could hamper performance and also cause injury to other competitors. Sports administrators however are recognizing the need to respect athletes' faiths and initiating policies that will allow them compete in their religious outfits.

Features of the new Nike Pro Hijab

The Nike Pro Hijab obviously stands for Nike hijab for professional athletes. The sports gear company consulted widely with female athletes from the Arab world before designing the sports hijab. The product had been under development since early last year and numerous feedbacks from female athletes in the Middle East had helped towards its design and production, ABC News reports.

The material used for the Nike Pro Hijab is light and stretchable. It will be easy for users to breathe through it and it stretches down to their backs so that it will not come off easily. Users will also be able to choose colors black, grey and obsidian when it widely available in the market in 2018.

UAE skater Zahra Lari among others have tested the new sports hijab

Zhara Lari, a female skater from the UAE and other female athletes have tested the use of the Nike Pro Hijab and found it usable. Lari will be competeting at the Winter Olympics games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next year. She even posted a photo of herself exercising with the new hijab on her social media pages.

Ibtihaj Muhammad is an American fencer who happened to be the first American female athlete to wear hijab at the Olympics last summer. And Rowaida Abdelaiz, an Egypt-born female track and basketball player in the United States noted that "it's definitely exciting to see a huge corporation like Nike cater to the [sports needs] Muslim community." A chief advocacy officer at the Women in Sports Foundation, Deborah Slaner Larkin, commended the new hijab from Nike, adding that it was late in coming.

Athletes and advocates are now calling on the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) among other sports regulators to also allow female Muslim and Sikh athletes to wear hijab during competition.

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