The UAE will host the Asian Karate Championship, which will see many Arab women fighting with their hijab.
This is the first major international karate event after the World Karate Federation approved the use of hijab for women participants in January this year.
The UAE Taekwondo and Karate Federation, the UAE Youth and Sports Authority and Dubai Sports Council together will host the 12th Asian Karate Championship in Dubai from November 28 to December 7.
This is the first time the event is hosted by an Arab nation, said Major-General Nasser Abdulrazaq Alrazooqi, President, UAE Tekwondo and Karate Federation and member of EC OFWKF.
About 800 karate champions from 45 countries, including about 100 female martial art experts, will participate in the tournament at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Sports Complex in Dubai.
The UAE National Ladies karate team comprising 12 Emirati women will participate, said Abdulmajeed Ali Alzaourouni, Board Member and Assistant Secretary General of UAE Taekwondo and Karate Federation.
“Karate is popular in the UAE, especially among expatriates, and we are trying to make it more popular among the Emiratis. There are good number of Emaratis and Arabs interested in the game and the decision to allow use of hijab in such competitions will attract more Arab women to take up karate,” said Naser Abdul Razak.
Competitions will be held for juniors and seniors. A 12-member UAE female karate team will take part in the competitions.
The event will also include special seminars for referees and coaches. The closing ceremony will be held on December 6, with the winners receiving awards.
Cash price is not included as it is not allowed as per the World Karate Federation rules.
“This is the first time an Arab Gulf country is hosting the event, and we expect more women participation. While normally there are more than 1000 participants in such competitions, 40 per cent are female. The number of female participants in the Asian Karate championship will be finalized within three days,” said Abdulmajeed.
Last year FIFA approved a ruling allowing Muslim women footballers to wear the hijab. The start of the judo competition at London 2012 saw a debate whether Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani from Saudi Arabia would be allowed to wear a hijab.