VIDEO: Amaiya Zafar, 16, practices boxing every night in a St. Paul, Minnesota, gym. She aspires to compete in the 2020 Olympics. A devout Muslim, Zafar announced at six that she wanted to wear a hijab, but she is not allowed to compete in one.
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Amaiya Zafar, 16, practices boxing every night in a St. Paul, Minnesota, gym. She aspires to compete in the 2020 Olympics. A devout Muslim, Zafar announced at six that she wanted to wear a hijab, but she is not allowed to compete in one. She has spoken with local officials, USA Boxing, and the International Boxing Association to obtain a waiver so she can wear her hijab and clothing under her jersey. In the meantime she still trains every night as if she will compete.
Her story is part of the National Geographic article titled “Changing Girlhood,” which focuses on girls growing up in America and the messages they receive from various forms of media as they transition into young women.
UPDATE: May 3, 2017
In April, USA Boxing issued a waiver to Zafar to allow her to fight in local matches and she was finally able to get in the ring on Saturday, April 29th. Despite losing the match in a split decision, Zafar, her opponent, and their coaches shared a group hug, nodding to the importance of the occasion. USA Boxing said in a statement that they are currently amending their domestic competition rules to accommodate boxers’ religions. For now, they say they will consider exemptions on an individual basis as per their policy for non-advancing domestic competitions. For Zafar to fulfill her dream of boxing in the 2020 Olympics, she’d still need an international waiver from AIBA, boxing’s international governing body.
VIDEO: Kitra Cahana
EDITOR: Gabrielle Ewing
TRANSCRIPTIONS: Fletcher Reveley
This Teen Boxer Wants A Chance to Compete Wearing Her Hijab | National Geographic