Pak athlete hurt by 'anti-Islamic' views in Athens

Updated on Sep 06, 2004 03:45 AM IST

"Everybody discouraged me for running in full costumes and there was an anti-Islamic campaign that hurt me badly," Sumaira Zahoor, Pakistan's only female athlete said.

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PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, Islamabad

Pakistan's only female athlete in the Olympics on Sunday said she was hurt by negative feelings about Islam in Athens where she claimed she was criticised for running in clothes that fully covered her body.

"Everybody discouraged me for running in full costumes and there was an anti-Islamic campaign that hurt me badly," Sumaira Zahoor told AFP.

"All the people there think that Islam binds women in ropes, which is very wrong."

The 24-year-old from Rawalpindi finished last in her 1,500 metres heat but she said she was followed more for her full shirt and leg coverings during the Athens Olympics last month than he r novice run.

"They asked me why I can't wear shorts like some of the females from other Islamic countries, why is this difference.

"I said that roots of Islam are more in Pakistan than other countries," said Sumaira, who added that her parents never forbade her from taking up sports.

Pakistan also sent 14-year-old Rubab Raza, the first female swimmer from the Islamic Republic in the Olympics.

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