NEW YORK --The Nike Sport Hijab was a game-changer for access to sports for Muslim girls. Made with lightweight, breathable wicking material and a pull-on design that keeps the Hijab in place during activities, the sport Hijab helped remove one more barrier to access. However, due to the price, the sport Hijab was out of reach for many NYC youth wrestlers. That changed this past season as BTS Board Member Hooman Tavakolian, through his charity "Hoomanities", donated sports bras Nike Sport Hijabs to Beat The Streets to be distributed to the Public Schools Athletic League's Muslim female wrestlers.
Reflecting on the donation Mr. Tavakolian said "It is imperative that support is given to further grow the sport for these Muslim women. It is with great hope women's wrestling will continue to grow. With everyone in the world helping to bring wrestling to all females we can grow the sport as a whole and allow us to focus on our similarities and find our differences beautiful. This will help grow the sport and have more female presence. It will also give young females self-confidence in life and how to deal with challenges."
Taft Campus Junior Hind Doucoure, who made the finals of the New York City Championships this spring and received a Nike Hijab at the start of the season noted, "The Nike Hijab is a milestone for Muslim women in sports. It has made wrestling much more enjoyable than a traditional hijab that gets in the way when competing. I feel that is has opened opportunities for young girls to pursue athletic careers no matter what race or religion they belong to."
BTS Girls Development Director Emma Randall added "As a female in a male-dominated sport like wrestling, there are many barriers to entry. Some are easy to spot such as participating in a gender non-conforming sport or feeling a part of the team. Some are harder such as only having access to a male cut singlet that exposes more of your body, lacking a sports bra for daily practices and competitions, or lack of access to a hijab for sport instead that maintains coverage while wrestling. Hooman and his charity, 'Hoomanities', has been very helpful in reducing barriers for women who want to wrestle, but not have the financial means or ability to purchase a hijab made for sport. We truly appreciate his effort to make our sport accessible for all girls and boys in NYC."
Mr. Tavakolian concluded, "I am very involved in the world of sports, especially wrestling. My focus has been on empowering at-risk youth around the world, with a focus in the Middle East. Being a Muslim Iranian-American, I am familiar with the cultural and religious restrictions and expectations. Empowering female athletes who may be restricted by religious and cultural limitations is a big step."