A minister has come to the defence of national sprinter Azreen Nabila Alias after a social media comment drew scorn for questioning her decision to wear a hijab at the Tokyo Olympics.
Zuraida Kamaruddin, the housing and local government minister, said no one had the right to question the athlete’s choice of dress whether it was based on comfort or religious beliefs.
“Her dressing has nothing to do with her performance as an athlete. All national athletes in fact should be able to perform in their respective competitions with the peace of mind that their country is behind them,” Zuraida said.
On Friday, a social media user attacked Azreen for donning a hijab when taking part in the women’s 100m event.
“I do not mind of her being last in the 100 meters heats but I cannot tolerate is she dressed differently from the others. She was fully covered as if she was running during winter,” said Hugh Lawrence Zehnder, in a posting which was criticised by netizens.
“If her religion prohibits her from dressing like the others it would be wise for her to drop the sport and concentrate on winning the Koran recital competition and let the non-Malay represent the nation in the sport.”