Amaiya Zafar, a 16-year old Muslim boxer from Minnesota, is set to make history by becoming the first boxer to compete in her hijab on this coming weekend.
Zafar wears hijab, long sleeves and leggings under her uniform, which got her disqualified at a fight in the last November for violating USA Boxing uniform regulations.
However, she did not give up, neither the game nor her religion, she was determined to fight for the right to compete in the dress that does not compromise her beliefs.
“Why should I have to compromise the sport that I love? This is my life.” Zafar told CNN affiliate WCCO. “I go to the gym every single day, why should I have to compromise that for my religion?”
She continued her training with the same passion and filed a petition with the help of family, gym and The Council on American-Islamic Relation’s (CAIR) support in USA Boxing Association.
She was determined that even if she is not able to compete in hijab, but manage to change the rule, she will still be glad that coming generation will be able to compete without compromising their religion.
“You know, the battle is not given to the swift but to he who can endure it to the end,” Zafar said. “At the end of the day, if I never get to compete but get the rule changed so other Muslim girls in the US can compete, then I have won.”
However, the young boxer won her battle last week as the USA Boxing Association gave her a nod to fight with her hijab on in local matches.
“USA Boxing is excited that our youth boxing programs attract stellar athletes from diverse walks of life, and we are in the process of amending our domestic competition rules specifically to accommodate the clothing and grooming mandates of our boxers’ religions,” USA Boxing spokesperson Mike McAtee said in a statement to CNN.
“These rules will provide exemptions so that athletes can box without running afoul of their beliefs.”
But the 16-year old is aiming high, she wants to be a part of Tokyo Olympics in 2020. She has already getting prepared to file a petition in International Boxing Association to have this religious exemption in their rulebook.