A winner of this year’s British Muslim Awards, Hijab-clad basketball player Asma Elbadawi has become a role model for many Muslim women in Britain and elsewhere.
Asma who won the award for Rising Star in Sports said, “We campaigned to FIFA to allow Muslim women to wear the hijab in professional basketball, which was a global campaign over two years, and we won in the end…. I try to play it (basketball) now, it’s a big hard with work, but I still try to play when I can.”
“About the other day…. honoured to have won the rising star in Sport award. Thank you to however nominated me and everyone for the love and support,” Asma wrote on her Facebook page after receiving the award.
Hailing from a Sudanese background, Asma is a member of the Bradford Cobras basketball club, a grassroots team who has campaigned to lift a years-long ban on the wearing of hijab and other religious headgears in sports.
As a result of the campaign, the Basketball governing body, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), lifted the ban in 2014 and allowed players to wear Hijab and other religious headwear on the field.
“When I think about it, [when I was younger] I had assumed that because I hadn’t seen sportswomen wearing hijabs on TV that there was something against it in our religion,” Elbadawi says.
“I had assumed that women were expected to retain their modesty and playing sport didn’t align with that.”
View this post on Instagram
I learned so much about myself through this game. I shed alot of tears and had a lot of internal battles. I tried to mimic players that where taller and bigger than me only to fail. It took me so long to find my strengths and then when I discovered them I held back, I didn't want to try new tricks in front of a crowed and miss then get laughed at. But something in me kept telling me to keep my head up, keep playing. Lord knows how grateful I am for never giving up. Alhamdullah after many years I feel like I am the player I was always too scared to be. I always played as Asma the good player but could be better but In my last few games I met Asma the feirce, strong player I Imagined over and over again in my head the one I never let anyone see. There are no words to discribe the internal joy of breaking my own personal best score over my last games. So if your doing something you love that keeps challenging you, let me tell you this. Keep going your time will come soon. _____________________________________ 📸 @karen_mandau #muslim #women #femalesinsport #Alwaysballing #Basketballneverstops #Ballislife #Believeinyourself #Bradford #UnitedKingdom #England #people #outdoors #leisure #basketball #ball #competition #wear #sport #mcm #fit #fitfam #fitspo #fitness #summer #portrait #athlete #fun #sky #sunset
Asma is determined to continue her role in encouraging young Muslim girls in sport as a coach, mentor and adviser.
“The challenge now will be in re-educating our community about the benefits of sport and what it means for a girl to be able to take part.”
An accomplished spoken word poet, the young Muslim basket player also won BBC Radio 1Xtra’s ‘Words First’ 2015 Competition.
View this post on Instagram
The spaces we fear the most end up becoming our place of comfort. For ages I kept my poetry book close to me Incase I forgot my lines. Then one day I tried to perform without my book, forgot my lines and the audience clapped, up there you realize we are all the same. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. When you let go of that fear. You are able to just enjoy the moment. Performing at @dishoom Eid Festival __________________________________________________ #Spokenword #spokenwordpoetry #poetry #writer #visualartist #stage #eid #festival #performance #london #sudanese #sudan #arts