Woman Grandmaster and former world junior girls’ champion Soumya Swaminathan has refused to participate in the Asian Team Chess Championship in Iran later this year, saying ‘surely there is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in sports.’
Last week she used Facebook to break the news of her decision to pull out of the event which will be held in Hamadan, Iran, from July 26 to August 4 – and is now receiving many messages of support.
According to this report, this is not the first time an athlete pulled out of an event over the same issue. In 2016, top Indian shooter Heena Sidhu withdrew from the Asian Air Gun meet in Iran citing the same reason.
One of the many applauding her stand is Saurabh Navande, who wrote:
Good call Soumya! It’s so sad to know that players are being forced to follow Iranian laws! I feel sad that organizers did not think and understand that this could be a problem for so many sports women. You are already a winner Soumya! Good call on standing against such violation against human rights.
Hat tip: Gaurav Tyagi