National Sports Council D-G blasts Terengganu exco over comments about female gymnasts’ attire

National Sports Council director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail rapped Terengganu Youth, Sports and NGO Development exco member Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah for his statement regarding the attire and performance of female gymnast. — Bernama pic
National Sports Council director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail rapped Terengganu Youth, Sports and NGO Development exco member Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah for his statement regarding the attire and performance of female gymnast. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — National Sports Council (MSN) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail today rapped Terengganu Youth, Sports and NGO Development exco member Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah for his statement regarding the attire and performance of female gymnast.

In a press statement today, Ahmad Shapawi said that the assumption made by Wan Sukairi that a gymnast’s skills and techniques were “sexually arousing to men” was out of line.

“Sports is a stage for the country’s athletes to showcase their self-discipline and sporting spirit, with the goal of waving the Jalur Gemilang at the national stage.

“As such the definition of ‘arousing’ does not exist in the arena of gymnastics and gymrama, and it should be made a basis for sports development policy,” Ahmad Shapawi said.

Wan Sukairi yesterday remarked that the Terengganu state government is inviting fashion designers to submit their proposals on ideas for suitable sports attire as the PAS administration there is drafting a Shariah-compliant code of conduct for athletes.

The guidelines include sportswear and also how athletes should socialise during events.

The Terengganu exco added that the state government had no choice but to withdraw from rhythmic gymnastics and women’s gymnastics due to the revealing attire and that the movements were “sexually arousing to men”.

Ahmad Shapawi on the other hand said that sports attire should not be a matter of policy as clothing are an individual’s choice.

“We appreciate the efforts by the Terengganu state government in trying to find a solution on appropriate sportswear for Muslim athletes that is Shariah compliant and I agree that religion is an important aspect of Malaysia.

“However, it is improper for the Terengganu state government to implement this policy as attire is the personal right of every individual, as well as the decision to single out certain sports, but other sports such as swimming, diving and football is not Shariah-compliant for both, male and female athletes.”

He also pointed out that sportswear should comply to international sports regulations and does not endanger the athlete.

Ahmad Shapawi also added that it would be unfortunate if the PAS state administration’s plans would apply to non-Muslim athletes, impinging on their rights to pursue their chosen fields.

“Just as we do not forbid such clothing to foreign tourists and non-Muslims, many of whom visit the beautiful islands in Terengganu and can be freely ‘seen’ by the Muslim residents of those islands,” he said.

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