Bahrain’s Olympic short distance running champion, Ruqaya Al Ghasara will turn heads at her first Beijing race (200 metres Tuesday 19/8/08) stepping out in an Australian designed and manufactured body-covering top including the
modern Hijab in accordance with Muslim tradition.
Ms Al Ghasara, currently ranked number seven in the world, said that wearing the specially designed Hijood Sports Top from Australian company Ahiida had improved her performance.“It’s great to finally have a high performance outfit that allows me to combine my need for modesty with a design made from breathable, moisture controlled fabric that allows freedom of movement and flexibility,” said Ms Al Ghasara.
“It’s definitely helped me to improve my times being able to wear something so comfortable and I’m sure it will help me to give my best performance at Beijing.
“I hope that my wearing the Hijood Sports Top will inspire other women to see that modesty or religious beliefs don’t have to be a barrier to participating in competitive sports.”
Ahiida Managing Director, Ms Aheda Zanetti, said that although this outfit had been custom made for Ms Al Ghasara her company had been deluged with international orders from women wanting conservative sporting outfits since its
inception five years ago.
“Since Ahiida first came to media attention with our special Burqini Swimsuit for Aussie Muslim lifesavers, we have had significant interest in our unique conservative sportswear,” said Ms Zanetti.
“Our sportswear supports women who want, for whatever reason, to wear things that are modestly cut and have useful functions like keeping their hair out of their eyes whilst enjoying an active sporty lifestyle.
“We are proud to announce our sponsorship of Ruqaya which will come into effect on the 29th August. We feel that this sponsorship will enhance the supportive connection between our two nations. We wish her well in her races in Beijing.
Ms Zanetti said that working with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) had helped her to connect with the right people in the region.
“I hope to be doing more work in Bahrain and the region in general and appreciate Austrade’s continuing support for my products,” she said.
The Australian Trade Commission’s Counsellor (Commercial) and Senior Trade Commissioner for the Kingdom of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Michael Kavanagh, said that the Ahiida brand was indicative of Australia’s versatile business capability.
“There is a strong business relationship between Australia and Bahrain (and the region in general) and the two way trade between the two nations, which is currently worth approximately $480M PA, has been growing annually for the
past 5 years“, said Mr Kavanagh.
“People know Australia for its alumina and automobile exports plus traditional food and consumer products and now we see that there is a growing interest in areas such as the health and education sector plus financial services. Australia’s expertise in these areas is well known and Austrade is looking at these sectors for future growth in two way trade”.
“We hope that this connection with Bahrain’s champion runner will be like Australia’s relationship with Denmark post the marriage of Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik to Aussie Mary Donaldson, heralding a further closeness between
our nations. Bahrain’s Olympic team is sponsored by Nike. As part of Ms Al Ghasara’s team contract she competes in Nike shoes and National Olympic Committee sleeveless Vest.