Sadaf Khadem, from champion to wanted

This article is also available in: Italiano

The paradoxical story of the first Iranian athlete to win an official match, now sought after for his refusal to wear a hijab. The incredible story of the boxer Sadaf Khadem, from champion to wanted.

A “haram” preparation

Boxing is a sport that for many years has lived in a sort of limbo, allowing the discipline to be carried out but only if it is also adhered to from a “religious” point of view. In fact, in the country it is mandatory for women to wear the veil from the tender age of 9, in addition to having to access a whole series of places built ad hoc such as gyms only for women. Of course, these measures over time have greatly limited the number of boxers, with rare exceptions such as those of Sadaf who, however, are forced to live illegally.

Sadaf Khadem
Sadaf Khadem

The athlete has in fact trained for a long time and in secret with the former Franco-Iranian boxer Mahyar Monshipour who has always encouraged and encouraged her, even at the cost of committing crimes to achieve her dream: to win an official match. This choice, combined with the decision not to wear the veil during matches, will change Khadem’s life forever.

The meeting of Royan

A few days ago she and her team went to France to play the first match, which ended in a triumph for the Iranian, infinite glory for the country. The problem is, however, that by winning, the girl has shown her compatriots some uncomfortable truths and they cannot tolerate this. On their way to Tehran, the team receives an arrest warrant for disobeying public decency laws. The decision to stay in Europe will then be instantaneous and she will transform triumph into infamy, condemning her, at least for the moment, to forced exile. From champion to wanted in a few hours.

Sadaf Khadem

The question, in its madness, is very interesting especially for 2 themes that it carries with it. On the one hand, in fact, we are shown once again how in Iran the balance between personal and “public” freedoms is still fragile; on the other hand, some of the objective difficulties that women of these countries encounter when they choose to undertake competitive activities. The problem is not so much to be found in the hijab but more in the level of the gyms. If one insists assiduously on this strange division of the sexes, one must give both of them the same level of possibility, which is almost impossible if there are no good teachers. Precisely for this reason we can only hope that cases like this will repeat themselves, so that the sport has new and great amazons to learn from.

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