LONDON: A 24-year-old woman from Iran will on this weekend make history in London by becoming the first female triathlete to take part in a world championship under the green, white and red tricolour of the Islamic republic’s flag.

Shirin Gerami will join 8,500 athletes from 83 countries taking part in the PruHealth world triathlon grand final in Hyde Park, competing in full Islamic dress through a 1,500 metre swim, a 40km bike race and 10km run.

Gerami, who lives in Britain, wrote to the authorities at Iran’s ministry for sports and youth affairs four months ago, attempting to persuade them that Iranian women could compete in the triathlon. She travelled to Iran a few weeks ago to push her case.

“When I turned up in person on their doorsteps, they realised that I am very serious, and I am willing to do anything,” she said in an interview from Tehran, one day before flying back to London.

I was overwhelmed by how far people went in order to support me.

Officials at Iran’s national triathlon federation told Gerami this week that she can participate in the London event. She will be competing in a full hijab that will cover her body from head to toe, a dress she has worked on to make sure it meets Iran’s requirements. Organisers of the London grand final have also agreed to provide a tent for her to be able to change clothes as soon as she gets out of the water.

Gerami said her few months’ struggle had been “one of the most surreal, enriching, enlightening experiences” of her life.

“I can safely say I am a different person because of it."

By arrangement with the Guardian

More From This Section

View from abroad : Idealism and jihad

So is the era of idealism over? Or is it that some struggles have a greater moral claim on our conscience than others?

Female candidates fight for rights in Iraq campaign

Women are virtually absent from the Iraqi cabinet

What hasn’t changed since Bangladesh factory collapse

WHEN I met Rajina Aktar in February last year, her eyes were still red and her memory still fuzzy from the toxic...

Danish website turns homes into takeaway restaurants

COPENHAGEN: A Danish website is turning private homes into take-away restaurants by letting users advertise what ...

Comments are closed.

Comments (16)

September 14, 2013 4:25 pm

Good Luck girl, I hope she win it as well :)

Muhammad Ali
September 14, 2013 4:51 pm

i salute the people who supported her and hats off to this girls spirit to be the best

September 14, 2013 9:07 pm

Best of Luck.......

September 14, 2013 9:11 pm

Best Wishes....

Sumit Mazumdar
September 14, 2013 10:28 pm

I wish her well, but I cannot fathom how her body will be able to efficiently lose heat during the running and bicycling parts of the triathlon. The article does not say whether she has been practicing in her Islamic dress. If she has been practicing in London wearing sports-friendly clothes, and the move to run wearing the hijab etc is to only please the Iranian moral police, she will not only be at a disadvantage, but the act could even be physically dangerous. Still - I wish her success.

Mirza Malang
September 15, 2013 1:43 am

@Idealist: She already has won a bigger battle.

ali fahdi
September 15, 2013 6:34 am

Good on her and hopefully in the future, girls like her can be allowed to compete in whatever sportwear they are most comfortable in.

September 15, 2013 6:41 am

Best of luck. Make your country proud :)

Muhammed Umar
September 15, 2013 7:02 am

Kudos to Shirin for overwhelming courage as well as her dedication for Islamic traditions... I wish & pray for her full success in every competation.

Babbarsher Khan
September 15, 2013 7:04 am

What will happen to the rooh of Ayatollah Rohollah Khomeini, the founder of the theocratic republic in the ancient land of Iran?

September 15, 2013 8:12 am

Swimming in a hijab? I applaud her guts, but not her wisdom.

September 15, 2013 8:30 am

i hope this will motivate others and open the door as well specially for girls

Akhter Husain
September 15, 2013 11:17 am

Have the Iranian religious leaders become secularists?Or women competing in Triathlon is not forbidden in an Islamic state if properly dressed.Permitting to live in time and space can not be a violation of Islamic teachings.Salute to Iranian leaders.

September 15, 2013 12:58 pm

Iran is nt Pakistan

September 15, 2013 2:49 pm

@Indian: and this is not indian news paper

September 15, 2013 2:49 pm

@zehra: I dont know what to say but i do not want my daughter to run infornt of men in tight cloths, as i said i dont know what she will be wearing hajib DOES NOT MEAN covering you head , it mean covering yourself in loose cloths ( may Allah forgive me if i make mstake )

Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Front Page