High school runner disqualified because she wore hijab during race without submitting waiver

FILE PHOTO: A runner in Ohio was disqualified because a waiver wasn't submitted for her to wear a hijab during a race.

caption arrowCaption
FILE PHOTO: A runner in Ohio was disqualified because a waiver wasn't submitted for her to wear a hijab during a race.

A runner in Ohio finished her race with a personal best but was disqualified because she wore a hijab.

Noor Alexandria Abukaram's hijab is not permitted under uniform regulations. It wasn't the religious headwear itself that was the issue; it was the fact that a waiver must be submitted to allow her to wear it during a match, CNN reported.

Explore>> Read more trending news

Abukaram attends a private Islamic school in Sylvania, Ohio, but is a cross-county runner at Sylvania Northview High School since her school does not have the sports program, The New York Times reported. She says that her hijab is part of her, WNWO reported.

Over the past three years of competition, her hijab was never an issue when it came to the uniform she was wearing until the district meet on Saturday, but Abukaram told CNN she thought it could happen eventually.

Abukaram said "It was like a nightmare came true," The New York Times reported.

She started wearing the hijab in 2016, the Times reported, and she had worn it before to invitationals, but her coach thinks that officials were looking at the rules more closely because the meet was a higher level of competition, CNN reported. Coach Jerry Flowers said he was alerted to issue before the race, about 3 to 5 minutes before the athletes started running, that Abukaram needed the waiver. If they didn't submit, Flowers was told she could run without it, not run, or if she wore the hijab, she'd be disqualified, according to CNN.

Flowers decided not to tell Abukaram about the issue before the race. She says she understands why her coach made the decision, CNN reported.

After the meet, the waiver was submitted and approved and Abukaram can race in an upcoming regional competition and the group overseeing the events, the Ohio High School Athletic Association, is looking at the uniform rules and could change them to allow religious headwear without the need for a waiver, CNN reported.

During the race in question, Abukaram ran the 5K with her unofficial personal best time of 22:22, according to her coach.

About the Author