An American Muslim woman may now cover up when she competes in national weightlifting competitions, a sports panel has decided. Female Muslim competitors can opt to wear a body-covering one-piece "unitard" that will cover their arms and legs—along with a veil to cover their hair—under news rules announced by the International Weightlifting Federation. The tight-fitting unitard will still allow officials to verify lifts. The change was sparked in part by the plea of an Atlanta computer engineer who send a video to the panel demonstrating possible alternative uniforms that wouldn't compromise a Muslim woman's modesty.
“I’m really happy that it happened,” Kulsum Abdullah, 35, tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The one advantage to all of this is that it raised a lot of awareness. I hope it will help with other sports that other Muslim women participate in.” The Iranian women's soccer team has been barred from Olympic competition because players insist on wearing a full body uniform and head scarves. The IWF president said weightlifting rules were changed "in the spirit of fairness, equality, and inclusion."