Seoul/Tehran: Elnaz Rekabi, the first Iranian woman to win a medal at IFSC World Championships, has gone missing after competing in South Korea without a hijab.
Rekabi has been reported missing after competing in the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asian Championships in Seoul over the weekend without wearing a hijab.
The 33-year-old athlete is believed to be the second Iranian female athletes to disobey the mandatory hijab requirement of the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to a report from ABC News.
This is particularly relevant in light of the recent tensions and protests in Iran in the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody.
According to the BBC, Rekabi’s friends have been unable to contact her since Sunday night, despite the Iranian team leaving South Korea on Monday morning.
France-based European media outlet Euronews had interviewed Rekabi in 2016, when this is what Rekabi said about wearing the hijab during competitions:
“At the beginning, it was a little bizarre for the other athletes, who were curious about a girl wearing a scarf on her head and an outfit that covered the arms and legs whilst competing inside in such a hot temperature. For sure when its hot the hijab becomes a problem.
“During competition your body needs to evacuate the heat. But we have tried to create an outfit ourselves that respects the hijab and is compatible with practicing the sport of climbing.”