Celebrating diversity at the Volleyball House


Doaa Elgobashy and Nada Meawad were a hit with fans on their way to Volleyball House before being interviewed by CNN

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 11, 2016 – On Sunday, Doaa Elgobashy and Nada Meawad made history by becoming Egypt’s first ever team to compete in the Olympic beach volleyball tournament. 

As images of Nada competing in a hijab were beamed around the world, the young team became international celebrities, making them instantly recognisable to the public on their walk from the beach volleyball venue to the Volleyball House on Thursday.

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Elghobashy’s partner Nada does not cover her head while playing. 

“My religion does not prevent any player from playing,” said Elghobashy emphatically. “We all can play and it is very good to be here for the Games.

“I’m very happy and proud to represent Egypt in the Olympic Games. Of course I was a bit nervous in the beginning, but after the first couple of points I got over it and I was ok. 
“I am really proud of my hijab and I’ve been wearing my hijab for the last 10 years. The FIVB gave us the right to play with a hijab. Wearing a hijab doesn’t keep me away from anything I love to do and I think beach volleyball was one of the best things to happen to me.

“They are good, but we thought the Olympic teams would be way better than us, but I think we’re ok. With more training and facilities, we could be better than them.”

The FIVB Board of Administration approved a key change to women’s beach volleyball uniforms, in 2012 applying the modified women’s uniform rule - which was implemented for the Continental Cup - for all beach volleyball tournaments, including the Olympic Games in order to allow more players to play the game, catering for cultural and/or religious beliefs.

Previously there were two uniform choices for female players, a one-piece bathing suit or a bikini with a maximum side width of 7cm while full body suits could also be used under the bikini in cold weather. Now, players can also wear shorts of a maximum length of 3cm above the knee with sleeved or sleeveless tops or a full body suit.

CNN caught up with Elghobashy and Nada at Volleyball House

Although there were no athletes who used this application of the new rule in London 2012, the change has paved the way for a higher and more diverse level of participation in the lead up to and during the Olympic Games.

The duo rounded off their visit to the Volleyball House, where they were interviewed by CNN, with a stop at the CopaCourts where they met with fans and took part in an exhibition match. 

Elghobashy and Nada had a tryout of the CopaCourts 

Elghobashy and Nada are playing on an international stage for the first-time as the two players competed with different partners in helping Egypt to secure a berth in Rio. 

With Elghobashy competing with Lamies Nossier and Nada playing with Randa Radwan, Egypt posted a 5-0 record in the mid-April African Continental Cup finals in Abuja, Nigeria. With early wins over teams from Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, and Nigeria, the Egyptians defeated Rwanda 2-1 in the finals as Elghobashy and Nossier won the deciding match.


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