This UAE weightlifter inspired Nike to release their sports range of hijabs

Amna Al Haddad is majorly breaking barriers

‘From my perspective as a former athlete who competed in Hijab, in the past, the big brands didn’t see the need or market for it as it was not ‘popular’ and it was unheard of to see women train, exercise and compete in hijab,’ were the words of United Arab Emirates athlete Amna Al Haddad who’s been weightlifting since her early twenties.

So, it’s no surprise that Amna was one of the pioneering sportswomen who got Nike to address these specific needs after the brand sponsored her during the Rio summer Olympics.

The 27-year-old Dubai resident was spoiled by the sportswear brand who used all their high-tech to ensure her body was as supported for her sport as possible – but they missed something. What Amna really wanted was a head covering that would stay in place while she was lifting and that wouldn’t make her swear so much.

Enter… the sports hijab.

Now, the Nike Pro Hijab is set to go on sale next year and because its made of light and stretchy fabric, it promises to give the support and breathability that Muslim female athletes need.

‘It is a recent phenomenon where more women have expressed a need for it and more professional athletes have fought for rights to compete with a headscarf, and have an equal playing field. We made it big in the news, we couldn’t be ignored,’ she continues in her Instagram post.

‘As Muslim women, we have been vocal in the media about it – personally since 2011 – the big guys can’t help but notice us ‘the underdogs’ and our impact in the sports industry and world. They know that we are here to stay and decided to join the party and create another ‘competitive’ sport hijab in the market, which by the way, did exist in the market for few years now.

As an innovative company, they will create products and they will meet market needs – whatever they may be. It is not dismissing any other hard work done in the past to develop sports hijabs, it’s just there is more competition in the market for modest clothing now.

With the Nike Pro Hijab Launch, I do realize there is a lot of mixed reactions as to why Nike decided to create such a product “now.” __ From my perspective as a former athlete who competed in Hijab, in the past, the big brands didn’t see the need or market for it as it was not “popular” and it was unheard of to see women train, exercise and compete in hijab. __ It is a recent phenomenon where more women have expressed a need for it and more professional athletes have fought for rights to compete with a headscarf, and have an equal playing field. We made it big in the news, we couldn’t be ignored. __ As Muslim women, we have been vocal in the media about it – personally since 2011 – the big guys can’t help but notice us “the underdogs” and our impact in the sports industry and world. They know that we are here to stay and decided to join the party and create another “competitive” sport hijab in the market, which by the way, did exist in the market for few years now. __ As an innovative company, they will create products and they will meet market needs – whatever they may be. It is not dismissing any other hard work done in the past to develop sports hijabs, it’s just there is more competition in the market for modest clothing now. __ I support Muslim women with or without hijab, and how they dress is their choice. And with the Nike Sports Hijab, it surely will encourage a new generation of athletes to pursue sports professionally, and without us athletes who fought for this right and made it happen, Nike wouldn’t “just do it.” __ Ps. This is purely my opinion on the matter, not paid for or asked to be written. Much Love, -Amna

A post shared by آمنة الحداد Amna Al Haddad 🇦🇪 (@amna.s.alhaddad) on

I support Muslim women with or without hijab, and how they dress is their choice. And with the Nike Sports Hijab, it surely will encourage a new generation of athletes to pursue sports professionally, and without us athletes who fought for this right and made it happen, Nike wouldn’t ‘just do it.’

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