Terengganu To Bar Women From Competing In Gymnastics Because They "Expose Their Bodies"

Sports Minister Syed Saddiq has said that he "will never tolerate this".

Cover image via Fadza Ishak/CNA & Fadza Ishak/Malay Mail

The Terengganu state government will be barring women from competing in gymnastics as they "display indecent movements" and "expose their bodies", according to a report in CNA on 9 November

The report by the Singapore-based English news channel said that the move is part of sporting guidelines put in place by the state government over revealing attire and "indecent" moves.

The Terengganu state government believes modest attire will protect the welfare of athletes and prevent sexual misconduct.

Posted by CNA on Friday, 8 November 2019

The Terengganu Gymnastics Association, which picks potential gymnast and trains athletes from schools in the state, will be scaling back on recruiting promising female athletes in the near future, as per the guidelines from the state government, CNA reported yesterday.

The CNA report said that the aspiring female gymnastic athletes, who still want to pursue their path, will have move out of Terengganu

The news channel said that when they visited a training session at the state's Bukit Nenas sports school, there were a handful of female athletes whose hard work could be in vain as they would not be given the opportunity to represent Terengganu in the national meet in July 2020.

According to Terengganu Gymnastics Association's secretary-general and head coach Ahmad Akramin, while the female gymnasts will continue training for the moment, they might have to train with the national team in Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur or reside in another state if they want to go far in the sport competitively.

The state had sent its largest female gymnastics contingent in 2018 to the biannual national sporting event Sukma (Sukan Malaysia) Games, but will not be sending any female gymnasts for the next edition.

In the 2017 Sea Games, the national women's rhythmic gymnasts made a clean sweep by winning eight gold medals.

Image via Muhaizan Yahya/New Straits Times

Terengganu Youth, Sports and NGO Development Committee chairman Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah was quoted as saying that the guidelines were implemented in stages to avoid appearing "radical"

Wan Sukairi stressed that the state government, led by Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), was not like the Taliban in Afghanistan which practised an extreme interpretation of Islam.

We know that we are managing people, not robots. People have feelings, they can be rebellious, they can be accepting.

He explained that the written guidelines are based on Islam and Syariah compliance.

"You may have heard of reports of molesting and rape involving the coaches (in gymnastics). These things happen and we want to prevent all these things from happening by introducing these (sporting) guidelines that cover early preparation for the competition," CNA quoted him as saying.

Image via Fadza Ishak/CNA

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman took to his Twitter to say that he "will never tolerate this"

In his tweet posted Saturday afternoon, 9 November, the Sports Minister said that "If true, KBS (the Ministry of Youth and Sports) will take over control of MSN Terengganu (Terengganu Sports Council) and absorb their young aspiring athletes who (have been) discriminated (against)."

"I personally will meet up with the athletes affected to ensure that their future in gymnastics will not be compromised," Syed Saddiq added.

Syed Saddiq also said that the Terengganu government's stand on the matter is confusing as they had earlier informed him that they would allow women gymnasts to participate in the 2020 Sukma Games

"They told me that they'll allow for the gymnasts to participate in Sukma. That they will be taken care," the Sports Minister was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.

"But at the same time, insisting something else when asked by the media. Uncertainty kills talents."

In October, a 16-year-old Muslim student athlete at a high school in the United States was disqualified from her race because of her hijab:

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