What Heena Sidhu did in the year 2016 was repeated by Soumya Swaminathan. The venue is the same. The country is, of course, Iran which follows certain dress codes for women players. Heena objected to wearing a particular headscarf during the Asian Airgun Shooting event while Soumya has withdrawn from the Asian Team Chess Championship due to the country’s hijab policy.
The tournament is going to be held from July 26 to August 4, this year. Earlier, it was the same country where our top shooter Heena Sidhu did not take part in the Asian Airgun Shooting Championship.
It is once again our leading chess player, Soumya Swaminathan, who has said that enforcing religious dress codes is a violation of human rights. Therefore, she has decided not to participate in the prestigious game.
She accepts the law of a sovereign nation but finds the notion of wearing a headscarf ridiculous. This raises a question whether religious dressing codes have any place in international sports.
Both Heena Sidhu and Soumya Swaminathan are prominent players in their choice of sports. The stand they have taken is a tough one.