Lausanne, Switzerland, September 6, 2016 – The Olympic Games provide an opportunity for athletes from all over the world to compete, bringing together many cultures and countries.
When Nada Meawad and Doaa Elghobashy took to the sand on Copacabana Beach for their first match of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games against eventual champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany, little did they know that they would become one of the images of the Games.
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“I am really proud of my hijab and I’ve been wearing my hijab for the last 10 years,” said Nada during the Olympics. “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.
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.
Meawad/Elgohobashy’s route to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was through the FIVB Beach Volleyball Continental Cup, which saw almost 170 countries compete for a place at the event over two years.
The groundbreaking event provided an opportunity for countries to qualify for seven Olympic berths per gender.