German woman boxer fights to wear headscarf in the ring - GulfToday

VIDEO: German woman boxer fights to wear headscarf in the ring

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German boxer Zeina Nassar poses during a training session.

Berlin boxer Zeina Nassar's fighting spirit has won her plenty of titles, but her battle to wear the hijab in the ring has also made her an equal opportunity champion.

Today, the 21-year-old, who discovered female boxing by watching online videos as a teenager, is a German amateur featherweight champion and dares to dream of Olympic glory.

Her path so far took all the determination she could muster, Nassar told AFP, sipping an iced coffee at a cafe in Berlin's Kreuzberg district, where she grew up.

headscarf2 Berlin boxer Zeina Nassar's fighting spirit has won her plenty of titles.

 

Her list of achievements already includes six Berlin titles in the featherweight category, and the 2018 German Championship title.

In 24 official fights, Nassar, who weighs 57 kilos (125 pounds), recorded 18 victories, including one by KO, which is rare in this category.

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Zeina's battle to wear the hijab in the ring has made her an equal opportunity champion.

"My boxing style is very unconventional but I'm super fast. It's my strength," she said, mimicking a few uppercuts and hooks.

Critics

The fight isn't won yet, however.

The Berliner's Olympic ambitions, like those of other sportswomen wearing the headscarf, run up against critics who brandish a rule for the Olympics prohibiting the display of any political, religious or racial symbols.

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"Only sporting performance should count. We must not be reduced to our external appearance."

"Even if the boxing association, like most federations, has given in, the Olympic Charter has not changed," argued Annie Sugier, president of the International Women's Rights League.

'Modest fashion'

Despite the controversy surrounding the hijab in some Western countries, sportswear giants have already begun offering less skin-revealing clothes to cash in on the "modest fashion" market, which is now worth hundreds of millions of euros.

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Nassar is a brand ambassador for US sportswear maker Nike, which has been marketing a sports hijab for nearly two years.

The female boxer, who is very active on social media, has become a role model for young Muslim women in particular.

Agence France-Presse