Offbeat, Sports

The Saudi Connection Of The Nike Pro Hijab

Photo Credit: dezeen.com Photo Credit: dezeen.com

With more and more Muslim women embracing sports, Nike has planned to launch a line of headgear that caters to the market. It is expected to be officially launched by the spring of 2018.


Twitter has since gone berserk as the first batch of photos of the product came in. The Nike Pro Hijab has been almost over a year in the making, in fact, the first seeds are believed to have been planted way back. And, it all somehow has its connections to Saudi Arabia.

London 2012

In 2012’s London Olympics Saudi Arabia for the first time ever fielded female athletes to the Olympics. Runner, Sarah Al Attar, took to the field sporting a Hijab. She received an ovation upon completing her run and her photos splashed on many international newspapers.

Photo Credit: execreview.com

Photo Credit: execreview.com/Sarah Al Attar

Nike has even officially announced that they were inspired by Sarah Al Attar and Emirati weightlifter Amna Al Haddad.

Photo Credit: nisaanetwork.net/

Photo Credit: nisaanetwork.net/Amna Al Haddad

Rio 2016

Sarah again participated in the Olympics in Rio. This time around she was accompanied by a fellow hijab-clad runner, Kariman Abuljadayel, who took part in the women’s 100 meters event who was wearing a full black body suit.

Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk/Kariman Abuljadayel

Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk/Kariman Abuljadayel

It was not only like these 2 were wearing Hijab, there were athletes from other countries that donned the Hijab, but not many, barring America’s Ibtihaj Muhammad managed to gain enough limelight.

Photo Credit: themuslimvibe.com/Ibtihaj Muhammad

Photo Credit: themuslimvibe.com/Ibtihaj Muhammad

With the stage all set it was only a short wait before brands started showing interest to the needs of this growing market. It just so happens that the biggest sporting brand, Nike, which itself wields a great deal of influence in the sporting world has developed this product at a time when not all sports allow women to compete in hijabs.

Perhaps, it will be products like these and broader acceptance of cultural and religious norms that will pave way for more Saudi women to take on sports professionally.

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