Cultures collide! One Egyptian athlete is gaining some extra attention during her team’s first-ever Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — and it’s not just for her skills.
Beach volleyball player Doaa Elghobashy made headlines over the weekend for wearing a hijab while going up against Germany. “I have worn the hijab for 10 years,” Elghobashy, 19, told the Associated Press after the match. “It doesn’t keep me away from the things I love to do, and beach volleyball is one of them.”
She added: “I’m proud to be seen raising the Egyptian flag in a carnival with so many nations.”
One photo of Elghobashy in particular has been making the rounds online. Reuters photographer Lucy Nicholson published an action-shot of the athlete battling it out with bikini-clad opponent Kira Walkenhorst at the net.
“I wish Doaa Elghobashy was around when I was a hijabi-wearing high school volleyball player #RioOlympics2016,” one commenter tweeted on Monday. A second simply noted: “Great photo.”
Back in 2012, the International Volleyball Federation tweaked its guidelines and announced that bikinis would no longer be required during Olympic matches. “Many of these countries have religious and cultural requirements, so the uniform needed to be more flexible,” spokesperson Richard Baker told the AP at the time. The only requirements now for participants are sleeved or sleeveless tops and shorts that don’t exceed three centimeters in length.
Elghobashy made her Olympic debut at the Copacabana venue on Sunday. She and her teammates lost to Germany with a score of 21-12, 21-15.