In November, young boxer Amaiya Zafar traveled from Minnesota to Florida to fight her first competitive bout.
But before Zafar even had her gloves on, officials called off the fight – they told the 16-year-old she had to remove the hijab she wore or forfeit the match. A devout Muslim, Zafar refused, and her 15-year-old opponent was declared the victor.
USA Boxing, the sport’s national governing body, has dictated that athletes fight in sleeveless jerseys and shorts no longer than the knee. Zafar adds long sleeves, leggings, and a sporty hijab to the uniform.
The organization appears to be shifting its policy, and…[later] it granted Zafar a religious exemption to compete wearing the hijab so she…[could] fight…in Minneapolis.