Muslim Teen boxer Amaiya Zafar recently won a battle that will allow her to wear a hijab and fully cover her arms and legs while boxing – which means she can move ahead to fight her first sanctioned match later this month.
StarTribune reports that “a new USA Boxing exemption means Zafar can adhere to her religious beliefs rather than to a mandate that she wear a sleeveless jersey and shorts that can’t go below the knees.” Zafar, who is from Oakdale, Minn, is now officially allowed to compete in local matches and tournaments throughout the States.
“This is a big step,” says Coach Nathaniel Haile. “She’s put a lot of labor into this. She earned the right to showcase her skills, and I’m happy for her. But it’s just the first step in letting her achieve her dreams.”
Though Zafar has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, she has another big battle ahead of her outside the ring – to convince the international boxing organization, AIBA, to allow her to box in her modest sports attire.
Coach Haile says that Zafar has inspired many girls to get in the ring and box, including two Muslim teens. Zafar’s battle to change the rules was not just her own fight. “She fought for other Muslim youths,” says her coach.