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Nike designed sports headcover for Muslim atheletes

Figure skater Zahra Lari model wears Nike’s new hijab. Photograph: Vivienne Balla/AP

NEW DELHI: US Company Nike is launching a sports-friendly version for female Muslim athletes called the “Nike Pro Hijab”.

The sports clothing giant is the first multinational company to began developing the traditional Muslim headwear.

A Nike statement said: “The Nike Pro Hijab may have been more than a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back, to an ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport.

“This movement first permeated international consciousness in 2012, when a hijab runner took the global stage in London.”

“The Nike Pro Hijab was designed as a direct result of our athletes telling us they needed this product to perform better, and we hope that it will help athletes around the world do just that,” Global Nike spokesperson Megan Saalfeld told Al Arabiya English.

Inspired by Sarah Attar, a Saudi Arabian runner who competed at London 2012, the Pro Hijab for female Muslim athletes  took a year to be developed and is likely to hit markets early 2018.

UAE’s first Hijab-wearing international figure skater Zahra Lari is already using the product and was impressed. “I was thrilled and a bit emotional to see Nike prototyping a Hijab,” Lari said in a statement. “I’ve tried so many different hijabs for performance, and … so few of them actually work for me. But once I put it on and took it for a spin on the ice, I was blown away by the fit and the light weight.”

In this undated image provided by Nike, figure skater Zahra Lari models Nike’s new hijab for Muslim female athletes. (Nike via AP)

The launch was also welcomed on social media.

With Associates Press inputs