When it comes to taekwondo, Kubra Dagli is one of the best on the planet. She recently won a gold medal at the world championships in Lima, Peru, but the fact that she wears a hijab has ignited controversy in her home country of Turkey.
The state of Turkey is a secular one and as such, some commentators believe religious garments do not have a place in professional sport. In fact until 2013, there was a polarising ban preventing women from wearing head scarves in state offices in place.
However the most vitriolic remarks have come from the very conservative side of the debate, with 20-year-old Dagli being inundated with at times crass and vulgar comments on social media.
“This is an insult to Islam and faithful women, take off that veil,” one person said, according to Corriere della Sera.
Anther wrote, “Bare feet, head covered, thighs and hips exposed. You're just a commodity. What's appropriate in this?”
Responding to her critics, Dagli told HT Spor she just focuses on getting the job done. “People are doing it unconsciously,” she said, “I do not read and do not care. I’ve realised my dream.”
“[Hijabs] don’t interfere with anything. Religion, language and race discrimination in sport do much wrong, I never accepted it and I am opposed to discrimination.”
Dagli has been praised by many in the local media for challenging stereotypes about women and sport. She has been practicing taekwondo since the age of 13 and aside from the championships in 2013 where she wore a bandanna, her hijab has always been in its place.
Dagli and her partner received their recent gold medal in poomsae, a form of taekwondo that currently doesn’t feature in the Olympics which makes the World Championships the highest level. Dagli did attend the Rio Games however, as part of a World Taekwondo Federation team demonstrating the art of poomsae.