Elnaz Rekabi arrived back in Tehran to a hero’s welcome on Wednesday
Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi, who made headlines for becoming just the second woman from her country to perform in public without using a hijab, will not be punished or suspended by Iran’s National Olympic Committee, an official has said.
Rekabi went viral after footage spread of her appearing at the International Federation of Sport Climbing Championships final in Seoul on Sunday without the traditional headscarf that has been required since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Some reports claimed that Rekabi had been missing for 24-48 hours, which led to suspicion that she would not return to Iran like the last woman – boxer Sadaf Khadem in 2019 – to flout strict dress code rules for women in Iranian society.
Putting those fears to rest when landing at Imam Khomeini International Airport near Tehran on Wednesday morning, Rekabi was treated to a hero’s welcome but claimed that the perceived act of defiance was “unintentional.”
The president of Iran’s National Olympic Committee, Mahmoud Khosravi Vafa, has now insisted that there is no reason to take disciplinary action against Rekabi because she did not mean to compete without her hijab in South Korea, where she finished fourth.
“It’s a small issue. I’m surprised that it is being talked about so much,” Khosravi Vafa said from a congress in Seoul. “In our view it was not a big issue.”
Khosravi Vafa revealed that he discussed Rekabi’s case with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on Wednesday, when the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly was being held, and that he has spoken to Rekabi too.
“I talked to her and told her that you definitely are very talented in sports and you should continue down this path to maybe qualify for the Paris Olympics and you’ll be fully supported by the Iranian Olympic committee,” Khosravi Vafa explained.
Khosravi Vafa said that Rekabi was “a guest at Iran’s Olympic committee hotel for one day, along with her family,” with images published by Iranian state media showing her holding a meeting in the same black baseball and cap and hoodie she wore when landing in Iran.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the airport for Rekabi’s arrival and hailed her as a hero at a time when protests have engulfed the country following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police for violating Islamic dress code.
According to Khosravi Vafa, Rekabi will return to her hometown on Thursday.
https://ift.tt/hclpNT0 20, 2022 at 09:41PM
from RT – Daily news