ESSEX AND CHATHAM-KENT, Ontario – Young Muslim woman Noor Bazzi is making history, becoming the first woman in the basketball team at St. Clair College, Ontario, to wear hijab.
“I love being the first girl to be able to have this opportunity to represent my community the way I am,” she told CBC on Thursday, September 6.
Bazzi started to wear a hijab eight years ago at the age of 10.
At 18, she covers her entire body, sometimes having to shop from men’s section to find white tights for away game.
“I’m not complaining, whatever is there, I get,” she said.
As the first hijabi recruit to college sports, she hopes to be a role model and inspire younger girls to be proud of their identity.
“Every time I step on the court I’m leaving everything on the court like I’m diving for balls,” she said. “I’m hustling on defense. I’m cheering my teammates on when I’m not playing.”
Friends and family, who had been watching her play for years, were excited to hear the news she was recruited.
“They were insanely proud of me. They said ‘I’m making a name for myself. I’m representing the community well.’ Hearing that touched my heart. That’s all I want to do, be a positive role model,” she said.
Ted Beale, the athletic coordinator at St. Clair College, said Bazzi is a great addition to the program.
“She’s a great role model for everyone. Whatever background you’re from there’s an opportunity for you to participate and be involved in something you enjoy to do,” he said.
“At the end of the day we want to make sure she’s playing the game she loves and that’s the biggest thing for us.”
Her dream to become a role model came true when she had the opportunity to coach a Windsor Valiants team for girls.
“I think it’s just really important because they don’t just look at me as a Muslim, a female wearing the hijab,” Bazzi said.
“They look at me as a basketball coach and they respect me for it.”