Since USA Boxing dropped its religious headgear ban in April, the sport’s doors have opened to many Muslim women who want to enter the ring and make history.
Last weekend, Madeeha Mian was one of the first pioneers in the sport as she became the first athlete in Texas to ever wear a hijab during a USA Boxing sanctioned fight, KBTX-TV reported on Tuesday. Mian competed in the Texas Women’s Boxing Championship by Gulf Women of Strength at College Station.
The medical student from Texas A&M had only picked up the sport nine months ago, but she has always been drawn to the sport from watching her brother fight in elite competitions.
USA Boxing’s revised rules will not be in effect until June, but the tournament allowed Mian to fight with a religious exemption.
“Doctors haven’t seen any reason why they shouldn’t wear it,” Michael Campbell, the President of Gulf Boxing Association, told KBTX-TV.
“I think boxing mimics society and as society changes and evolves boxing is going to follow it as well and make rule changes that accommodate its athletes.”
Mian told reporters that she is grateful that she now has the opportunity to play the sport that she loves and still adhere to her religion.
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“I think the hijab is an important part of my faith,” she said. “It’s just a piece of fabric appearance wise, but it means more to me than that. To be able to wear this is to be able to represent who I am, my beliefs, and what I think is really important in life. I think it’s great I get to wear it doing what I love.”