Elnaz Rekabi: The fans cheer and clap as the climber returns to Iran

Elnaz Rekabi: The fans cheer and clap as the climber returns to Iran
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DUBAI, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi, who sparked controversy by competing in an international hijab, returned to Iran to cheers from supporters and repeated in comments to state media that she had inadvertently climbed without a headscarf.

The footage showed Rekabi, 33, covering a wall without covering her head while representing Iran at a competition in South Korea, amid unprecedented protests in Iran over the death in custody of a young woman detained by Iran’s morality police for “improper clothing”. “

In a statement on state television after his arrival in Tehran, Reqabi said he had returned “in full health” and “apologised to the Iranian people for the turmoil and anxiety I caused.” spoke.

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“The struggle of putting on my shoes and preparing my clothes made me forget to wear the proper hijab and I went to the wall and climbed up,” she said.

As he was escorted from the airport, well-wishers cheered, clapped and filmed the scene on cellphones, according to footage posted on Twitter.

In a statement posted on her Instagram account on Tuesday, Rekabi cited poor timing as the reason for her hijab-less competition, saying she was unexpectedly called upon to climb.

Rekabi, who finished fourth in the competition, denied in televised comments that he was unavailable for 48 hours and said the team had returned to Iran as planned. He said that he has no intention of leaving the national team.

BBC Persian reported on Tuesday that friends had been unable to contact him and there were fears for his safety. Iran’s embassy in South Korea denied reports on Twitter about his disappearance after the race.

The International Olympic Committee said that they spoke with the athlete and received a guarantee from the Iranian National Olympic Committee (IOC) that he will not face the consequences.

“A joint meeting was held today between the IOC, (international climbing federation) IFSC and the Iranian NOC, during which the IOC and IFSC received clear assurances that Ms Rekabi will not suffer any consequences and will continue to train and compete.” IOC spokesman said.

Another joint meeting was later held between the groups and Recabi, the spokesman said, adding that the IOC would monitor the situation closely in the coming days and weeks.

The death of Mahsa Amin last month while in the custody of the Islamic Republic’s morality police and the removal and burning of women’s hijabs during protests across the country, where she was detained for “improper clothing”.

The protests sparked by Amin’s death have become some of the boldest calls against the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution, although the unrest does not appear close to toppling the system.

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Report by Dubai Newsroom; Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by William Maclean and Frank Jack Daniel

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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