Raptors launch team-branded hijabs in fan outreach

The International Basketball Federation and FIFA lifted bans on head coverings in recent years. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 September 2019

Raptors launch team-branded hijabs in fan outreach

  • The Raptors say they are the first NBA team to offer an athletic hijab for Muslim women
  • The International Basketball Federation and FIFA lifted bans on head coverings in recent years

TORONTO: The Toronto Raptors say a new line of team-branded hijabs is part of an effort to be more inclusive to fans of all cultures.

The team’s parent company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, unveiled the Nike Pro hijabs emblazoned with the team logo in a social media post Friday.

The Raptors say they are the first NBA team to offer an athletic hijab for Muslim women. MLSE senior marketing director Jerry Ferguson says the organization was inspired to create the hijabs by a local Muslim women’s organization known as the Hijabi Ballers.

The women regularly play basketball at a community court associated with the team. Ferguson told The Canadian Press the Raptors want to send a message of inclusion to its diverse fan base, which grew substantially during last season’s run to the team’s first NBA title.

“One of the things that we are very interested in is moving from saying we are just about inclusivity and accessibility, and finding ways to bring products and ideas to market that actually prove that,” he said by phone.

The International Basketball Federation and FIFA lifted bans on head coverings in recent years. The National Council of Canadian Muslims praised the Hijabi Ballers for spurring the Raptors to act. Mustafa Farooq, the council’s executive director, acknowledged that the issue of hijabs in sports has proved divisive. Opponents have called them a symbol of oppression.

“It’s hard for me to understand that,” Farooq said. “One of the beautiful things about sports is that everyone can play. Highlighting that ... everyone should get a shot is such a beautiful thing to do, so obviously we thank the Raptors for taking this step.”


SFA launches Saudi Arabia’s first walk-run event in the summer

Photo/Supplied
Updated 13 July 2020

SFA launches Saudi Arabia’s first walk-run event in the summer

  • Staged under the banner of the Quality of Life program, the Step Together walk-run series aims to contribute to Vision 2030 by ensuring that physical activity levels are maintained and grow during the summer months

RIYADH: The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has announced its first outdoor event of the summer season, a series of competitive walk-runs called Step Together.
The first Step Together virtual walk-run is open to individual and teams. Participants can register from July 17 until the closing date of July 26.
Adults taking part can choose to complete either a 42 kilometer full marathon or a 21 kilometer half marathon over a period of 10 days, commencing on July 17. Children under the age of 15 taking part in the challenge will complete a shorter 10 kilometer race over the same period.
The event is the first organized by the SFA since lockdown restrictions were eased. It is designed to appeal to all ages, abilities and demographics by offering both walk and run options. Participants who meet the distance goals will be awarded with finishing medals and electronic certificates celebrating their achievement.
Participants will be able to use their own preferred digital fitness tracker. They will upload data and images every day to the race platform to register progress and compare their results with other participants on the race leaderboard.
Community sports groups (CSGs) are also encouraged to join Step Together, with the event featuring an exclusive leaderboard for groups. Members of CSGs can complete simultaneously in both individual and group categories.
Registered users will each receive email confirmations with a unique link and instructions for the Race Result platform.
The dedicated link allows each participant to enter distance and elapsed time each day, validated by a screenshot from any digital fitness tracker.
A results tab on the platform allows users to enjoy friendly competition and compare results with other participants.
There are also leaderboards for various categories on the same page, including age, gender and distance.
Staged under the banner of the Quality of Life program, the Step Together walk-run series aims to contribute to Vision 2030 by ensuring that physical activity levels are maintained and grow during the summer months.
The aims to promote a renewed excitement and energy for outdoor fitness.
A recent SFA report said there was a 60 percent increase in walking in Saudi Arabia since March, while running became 30 percent more popular.
The report added that the increases mainly came from people who were previously less active.
The SFA aims to further encourage enjoyment of physical fitness within this demographic.

Step Together participants can register on the Race Result platform at sfa.sa/STen.