Mumbai:Iran's top ranked badminton player Behnaaz lost to India's Shruti Kurien in her first round encounter in the India international badminton championship, But not before she had impressed many people with her game. Badminton is a popular sport in Iran since it allows women to compete in hijaab. Not surprisingly, many Iranian women now take part in the international meets but of course they can't compete in the mixed doubles event. "Badminton is growing rapidly in Iran. Today we have more than five thousand players and playing in India helps us learn a lot and gives us a chance to play tough matches," said Mahmoud Ansari, coach Iran National Badminton team. Dress code Women players from Islamic nations like Indonesia wear regular badminton attire comprising t-shirts and shorts but its mandatory for women from Iran and Pakistan to follow the Islamic dress code. Which is why, just one Iranian woman competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics. She took part in shooting rather than her favourite gymnastics because IOC restrictions on clothing do not allow athletes to compete in religious attire. Shooting is an exception. However, for players like Behnaaz these restrictions are more of a challenge rather than a hindrance. Behnaaz and Nakisa may have lost in the first round of this tournament but their agile footwork even in the long Islamic dress and the grit displayed by them on the court will certainly help to burst the stereotypical image of the women from the Islamic world.
Topics : Badminton