INCHEON (Reuters) – Banned by basketball’s governing body and a source of controversy at the Asian Games, hijabs were worn freely at the archery tournament in Incheon on Friday as athletes struggled to comprehend how a headscarf could cause such an uproar.
Female archers from Iran, Iraq and Indonesia competed at the Gyeyang Asiad Archery Field wearing navy blue and black headscarves, a right denied the Qatari women’s basketball team this week.
An assistant with Qatar’s National Olympic Committee told Reuters the basketball team had already left South Korea, where 9,500 athletes from 45 countries had gathered to compete at the Games under the slogan, “Diversity Shines Here”. The players chose to forgo their Asian Games dreams rather than abide by International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules banning headgear.
“The players looked sad about leaving but they totally understand the rule,” the assistant said, adding that they had left earlier than expected. Actually they were supposed to have training today. Everybody thought they would stay two or three more days, but they left early.”
Iran’s Shabnam Sharlak told Reuters she has no safety issues competing in the compound bow with the hijab, which is traditionally worn by some Muslim women.
“I’m an archer and the hijab doesn’t cause me any problems such as abrasions or things like that,” she said.
“For basketball? It’s just running, I don’t think its a problem at all.”