Keep religion and sports separate! Shooter Heena Sidhu to skip Iran tournament over 'hijab' compulsion

She said it was not in the spirit of sports

Indian shooter Heena Sidhu has refused to go to Iran for the Asian Airgun Shotgun Championship. The reason is that she didn’t want to wear hijab. The tournament rules said it was mandatory for the women to wear hijab.

According to the reports, the official website of the tournament had clearly stated that women were required to conform to the rules and regulations of the Islamic republic as to the dress code. This compulsion has not gone down well for the shooter.

“There have been (sic) reports abt me skipping the Asian air weapon competition in Iran due to their practice of making women wear hijab,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Im not a revolutionary. But I (sic)feel dat making it mandatory for even a sportsperson to wear hijab is not in the spirit of a Sport,” she added.

“Im proud 2 b sportsperson coz (sic) ppl from diff cultures, backgrouds, sexes, ideologies, religion can cum 2gether n compete without biases,” she wrote further.

“Sport is an exhibition of sheer (sic) Human Effort n Performance. Our ability to dig deep for Strength, Will Power and Determination. This is d reason I compete n I cannot compete for anything lesser than this. But I wud also not have my personal opinion politicised,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, NRAI president Raninder Singh told ESPN that the body respects Iran’s norm. He said even the tourists and diplomats comply with the norms.

Heena had also pulled out from a shooting tournament in 2013 citing the same reason. She had not participated in the tournament.

One must respect the culture and norms of other countries. But one must also respect self. If Heena was not comfortable wearing a hijab, it was her right to pullout of the tournament. She sacrificed the tournament for her beliefs. It is a bold move. It is also inspirational that she chose her individuality over professional commitment. Respects, ma’am!