SARAJEVO – A young Bosnian Muslim athlete has become the first hijabi member in the national senior karate team, named the best student athlete in the country after winning the national championship for the eighth year in a row.
“For me, this night is really important, especially because I got a prize as the most successful athlete student in 2015,” Amina Adilovic, 21, told Anadolu Agency.
Adilovic is the only veiled girl in the senior karate national team of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, she said that she has been aspiring for the title, though she did not expect it.
“When I started I had a feeling that I’m not so talented for that, but I was persistent and I really trained hard as a little girl who wanted to be better,” Adilovic, who started training 13 years ago, said.
“My efforts and hard work led me to be the national champion in BiH in the child’s competitions,” she said.
“Ever since, I became BiH’s national champion.”
After long years of practicing the game, she achieved the third place in the Mediterranean Championship in Italy in 2011, which is the first such medal ever for BiH.
Gold set of medals continued years later.
“The year 2015 for me has been really very successful, I would single out the results of the seventh European University Championships where I won third place in individual kata and first place with club colleagues in the fighting team.
“We had a great competition then. These medals were indeed great result.”
Karate & Hijab
Keeping her hijab in competitions was a tough challenge after the World Karate Federation (WKF) adopted rules in 2011 that ban hijab.
The decision was withdrawn in late 2012 when the WKF approved the wearing of a special hijab model for all Muslim competitors.
Adilovic confirms that hijab has never interfered in the fulfillment of any obligation.
She added that her Islamic outfit has never posed any problems for her, either on social or practicing levels.
“Honestly, I had no such bad situation. It is likely that there are some negative comments, but really did not reach me,” she said.
“I only had positive comments which I saw on the faces of my friends, who were genuinely happy for me and for the way I did it.”
Bosnia, a small country on the Balkan Peninsula, is home to three ethnic “constituent peoples”: mainly Muslim Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.
Out of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s nearly 4 million population, some 40 percent are Muslims, 31 percent Orthodox Christians and 10 percent Catholics.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.