USA Boxing have made a landmark ruling to allow young amateur Amaiya Zafar to box wearing attire in compliance with her religious beliefs.
Zafar, 16, was under the same rules as all fighters who were required to wear a vest and shorts for their matches, although the devout Muslim appealed to be allowed to cover her body, as per the Islamic faith.
The announcement was made by the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) this week after USA Boxing agreed to an exemption for Zafar, meaning she can wear long sleeves, leggings and the traditional hijab headscarf.
“This is a big step. She’s put a lot of labour into this. She earned the right to showcase her skills, and I’m happy for her. But it’s just the first step in letting her achieve her dreams,” Nathaniel Haile, Zafar’s coach, told Minnesota Star Tribune.
Taking a legal fight against USA Boxing for religious discrimination meant the body were forced to back down as the previous ruling breached Zafar’s human rights.
The fighter is now clear to begin competing in a bid to reach her goals.
“I’m ready. You get so invested. My weight is in the right place. My head is in the game,” Zafar told the Tribune.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for CAIR, added: “We welcome this partial victory and look forward to the day when athletes of all faiths may compete nationally and internationally while maintaining their religious principles.”
The ruling has already prompted Zafar to target a place at the Olympic Games in 2020.