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Taekwondo allows Muslim headscarves
World Federation aims to encourage Muslim women to wear headscarf at Worlds.
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2009 22:17 GMT

Iran's Sara Khosh Jamal wore her headscarf at the Beijing Games last year [GALLO/GETTY]
The World Taekwondo Federation hopes its decision to allow Muslim women to wear a headscarf in competition will help the sport promote gender equality at the upcoming world championships.

The governing body changed its rules in January to overturn a 2007 decision that formally banned female competitors wearing the traditional hijab under protective headgear.

"This measure means that taekwondo is one of the few sports that treats women and men equally in the Muslim world,'' said Dae Won Moon, chairman of the WTF's technical committee, in a statement.

"We believe that our respect for others' cultures and beliefs will allow taekwondo to enhance its status as an Olympic sport.''

Upcoming worlds

The federation expects women from 140 countries including Afghanistan, Iran and the United Arab Emirates to compete at the October 14-18 worlds in Copenhagen.

It banned the hijab days before the 2007 event in Beijing after being asked for guidance by the Canadian federation after two Muslim girls were banned from a competition in Quebec.

The WTF said then it did not recognise any religion and did not allow anything to be worn under headgear for safety reasons.

It then allowed Muslim women taking part at the Beijing Olympics tournament to wear a headscarf, including Iran's Sara Khosh Jamal who reached the quarter-finals of the under 108-pound weight category.

Source:
Agencies
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