What do I want to wear (and more on clothing)?
I want to be able to compete and follow my faith at the same time. My faith and desire to compete in Olympic lifting are not mutually exclusive. I should not be excluded from participating based on dress restrictions of my faith.
What I have been wearing: Loose. long pants past the ankles, long sleeve Under Amour shirts to the wrist, short sleeve loose t-shirt on top, head scarf. In earlier competitions, I had looser shirts, which you will see in my pictures on this website.
For the determining elbow lockout rule: The Under Armor shirts I wear are long sleeves but fitted. Coaches in training and judges during competition can tell if I receive the bar in a lock out elbow position or not. A lady could check that I have not placed anything on my elbow underneath the shirt. From my understanding, the singlet is cut off above the knee so it is shown compression assistance is not worn. I do not wear anything compressive on my legs, just loose pants.
Option: I could wear a singlet, but get one that is looser, not skin tight, and underneath wear pants and the Under armor shirt with head scarf. The IWF rules state collarless, but my head scarf does not give me an advantage over other competitors.
Tell me about yourself:
I was born in the USA, my parents came from Pakistan. I ended up in Atlanta, GA for graduate school. I lifted a little while practicing taekwondo during school. I got more into lifting when I started Crossfit in 2008. I started competing in Olympic lifting competitions early 2010 and is when I started to devote most of my training to weightlifting workouts and got hooked.
Late last year, I qualified for the American Open, a US national competition. I was not able to attend since USA weightlifting would not allow me to unless I wore the standard singlet, and they would not let me compete unofficially either. I tried to communicate with them again, hoping we could have a discussion to come up clothing that would not give me an advantage over other competitors. Their letter response said they are governed by the rules of the International Weightlifting Federation and reject my request.
At that point, i felt like I was at the end of my options for what I could communicate. I was getting no where on my own. I sought out help on the issue, and ultimately CAIR national found out and took on my case.
I decided to pursue this issue because I am not just doing this for myself. Someone who dresses differently of any faith, should not be discouraged from participating in a sport.
Athletic competition creates a camaraderie, it challenges you, makes you want to do better, set goals and try hard. The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports states there should be no discrimination and equal opportunity on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, or national origin;
It is like saying, if you are different, you can not compete. I am not asking people to change, I am just asking to participate and be able to dress the way I do. Trust me, I do not get a competitive advantage over other people. I really like this sport, and I hope others who might not normally consider this sport, will want to participate as well.
Olympics v.s. Olympic Weightlifting:
Olympic Lifting is the name of the sport, which consists of the 2 lifts, Snatch and Clean + Jerk. Competitions of this sport occur at various levels, and it does happen to be a sport in the Summer Olympics.
I wanted to clarify that I am not lifting at a level of other international competitors. While I admire the Olympics competitions and competitiors, I am not at that level and am aware of it. You can check for international competition results and records.