Seven Kings boxer turns hijab-designer to get Muslim women active

Ruqsana Begum (left) gave up wearing a hijab when she was 17

Ruqsana Begum (left) gave up wearing a hijab when she was 17 - Credit: Archant

A Thai boxing champion has designed a hijab to encourage more Muslim women to get into sport.

A model wearing the sports hijab by Ruqsana Begum

A model wearing the sports hijab by Ruqsana Begum - Credit: Archant

Ruqsana Begum, 31, who lives in Seven Kings and is the current British female Atomweight Muay Thai boxing champion, thought up the idea during the London 2012 Olympics when she learnt of an American athlete who was told her Islamic headscarf did not meet health and safety requirements.

“I noticed it is quite hard for women [to get into sport],” said Muslim Ms Begum.

“They are judged for the way we look and on top of that there is the health and safety aspect too.”

She admitted she was surprised she had not thought of the idea before the London Olympics.

Rusqana Begum in action in the ring

Rusqana Begum in action in the ring - Credit: Archant

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In combat sports competitors could potentially hurt themselves or their opponent wearing the traditional hijab because safety pins are used.

Ms Begum said: “When you wear a typical hijab you have to wrapped it around your head a couple of times and fasten it with pins.

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The fighter, of Bangladeshi origin, said she hoped the innovative hijab would encourage more women into playing sport.

“Hopefully it will stop [Muslim] women staying at home,” she added. “It will help them socialise and get fit in a sporting environment.”

Ms Begum’s hijab uses a breathable fabrics which she says fit comfortably around the head.

Different materials will be used depending on how moisture resistant they are.

Ms Begum added: “My hijab does not move around – it is designed to fit every head.”

And if it meets the International Olympic Committee’s health and safety requirements we could see Muslim athletes wearing it in next year’s games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

If you would like to purchase a sports hijab, contact Ruqsana via her website

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