Sports have always been a platform to bring people of varied nations and cultures together. This was reflected clearly at women’s volleyball games in Rio 2016 Olympics. Egyptian contenders, Nada Meawad and Doaa Elghobashy, donned long sleeves and leggings with the hijab headdress while German athletes, Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, took to the sand pit in the traditional two-piece bikini uniform.
Ever since the women athletes made an appearance for beach volleyball at the Copacabana, they’ve caught the attention of the world. A photograph displaying a stark contrast in their costumes has gone viral on social media and has become a strong statement for the women athletes from the predominantly Muslim country.
The collocation of two completely different cultures in one photograph is perfect example of how a sport is a great juncture and the Olympics is the biggest stage for that. In the past, the International Volleyball Federation had restrictions on the type and size of uniforms; however, these were altered in the London 2012 Olympics to encourage better participation from varied nations.
While the Egyptian athletes focused on the game to create history for their nation, they also challenged the existing norms to inspire other women across the globe. No matter what religion or background you belong to, it is your determination and dedication that leads you to success and not your attire!
Giving each other a tough fight, the German athletes emerged as winners in the 40-minute match with 2-0. It was a game well played by all the four competitors with the Egyptian athletes participating in their first international event outside the African continent.