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Wednesday, I received a press release from the Council on American-Islamic Relations about its efforts to get a dispensation from international weightlifting costume rules so a female Muslim athlete can take part in some of her sport’s major events.

The press release noted CAIR had sent a letter to U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun asking the USOC to intercede on behalf of Kulsoom Abdullah, a 35-year-old computer engineer from Atlanta who wants to balance her desire to compete with her desire to follow dress code dictates of Islam.

Thursday, the USOC told me it has succeeded in bringing the issue before the International Weightlifting Federation’s technical committee at its June 26 meeting in Malaysia — which is nothing short of miraculous, given the pace at which most international sports federations work.

This story still may not have a happy ending for Adbullah because the clothes she has worn in minor competitions do not fit IWF rules. Those rules require the knees and elbows to be uncovered and require a tight, collarless, one- or two-piece garment covering the torso of the athlete.

But the subtext here also is significant, because it speaks to the importance of the USOC’s ongoing efforts to get U.S. representation in the highest councils of international sport.

Source : Chicago Tribune

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