Headscarf/leggings update - LONG

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.


Nov 20, 2013
London, UK
Some of you will have read the thread I started a couple of weeks ago about the rules surrounding headscarves and leg coverings in competition, and I thought that those of you that did might like to know what happened at the comp in question this weekend!

My competitor went for warm ups when her category was called. She had 2 run throughs of her routine, when she was approached by a senior official (bald guy) who pointed to her (relatively tight fitting, made for sports) headscarf, and said "take that off". I was present and explained that we had prior permission from the organiser, and if he had a problem, he needed to speak to him. Then the organiser came and joined us, and claimed that he had only said that a head covering would be allowed if it was part of an all in one bodysuit (this was NEVER mentioned by him) but bald guy started waiving the BG code of points (which they were not following because they weren't allowing girls to wear leg coverings unless they provided religious 'proof') and saying that even then it would not be allowed. He then made a comment about how "you wouldn't let a blind person drive a car, would you?" Which was just the most aggravating choice of words, particularly as there was a partially sighted gymnast competing that day.

This all happened at the side of the tramp, in front of other competitors, and warm ups halted while all of this took place. That led my girl to be really embarrassed and almost apologise to the officials, saying that it was fine if she couldn't compete. I said that it absolutely WAS NOT FINE AT ALL, but recognised that heir minds were made up and I wasn't going to change them. I contacted my sports lady at Uni who tweeted about this and got lots of retweets. Then, I was a bit of an emotional wreck, and a girl from another Uni approached me and said that's he had overheard the whole thing and was appalled. She went to speak to some other people.

She came back to me about 20 minutes later and told me that she had spoken to several captains from other unis who were also completely disgusted at what happened and wanted to challenge the judges on this issue. We then spread the word through the arena that we were meeting in a particular place at 4:30, before the final flight. At the time we decided, about50 students came down and told the officials to call the bald guy and the organiser down.

They then started crapping themselves (I imagine) because every university present was turned out in support of us, the tiny club with only 4 competitors entered. They dragged me and the 'ringleader' off to the top floor of the arena where the leader of BUCS sport was watching everything from a box.

He could clearly see the bad press that was coming his way if this wasn't sorted, and told baldy and the organiser that they must find a way for her to participate. He asked them what the specific issue was because they were saying that her scarf was a safety risk. They said they didn't know why it was unsafe, they just thought it was. I suggested that if they still thought it was massively unsafe then she could compete without it if all the males were removed from the arena. The BG equality policy states that they have a duty to include people where ever possible, and they looked a bit scared at that suggestion because the head of BUCS man looked like he might go for that if all else fails!

They then decided that if she signed a disclaimer (which never actually appeared and was never signed) and taped the scarf to her head then she could compete. She received the loudest cheer of the day, despite being in novice and being marked out of 8 instead of ten for doing the wrong move. I cried with happiness. I thought you guys would like to know!
You absolute star. I am so glad everyone got behind you and your gymnast. It is very hard to stand up for something you know is right sometimes in the face of rules and regulations. I am so glad that human decency and common sense prevailed. I know your gymnast didn't want to make a fuss and would have stepped down but why should she. She has a right to be included where possible like everyone else.
That is FANTASTIC Lucy - have you contacted local press ? Do not let this go and get proper clarification from all the governing bodies. Did she wear longs as well ? A precedent has been set now
That is FANTASTIC Lucy - have you contacted local press ? Do not let this go and get proper clarification from all the governing bodies. Did she wear longs as well ? A precedent has been set now

She wore leggings, and surprisingly, they were not a problem despite that being the thing I had to battle for in advance - they said that a headscarf was fine right off the bat!

We haven't contacted press. I think if we did there would have to be a whole LOT of positive spin put on it to make BUCS look good, or we might have a lawsuit to deal with. I am told that quite a few unis are planning to write about it in their papers though, and I can't really control that!
I'll look into it. I know that the Uni are planning to take it to sport England, because it should never have happened in the first place. At least one of the judges works directly for BG and I know him quite well indirectly. He noted what happened and said that BG were obviously going to have to change their policy now as this had set a precedent and they really should be doing more to get girls of all backgrounds into the sport, so I'm certain that BG will get to hear about it. I'd just like to be sure that they are going to act on it!
Wow, well done! And we'll done to that poor girl for going on to compete after such fuss was created. This really needs to be reported to BG.
All they need is to approve one of those sports headscarves - the ones you found are very close fitting
Yes. I also love that they don't permit jewelry for safety reasons, but there is a whole list of religious jewelry that is allowed. This is a pretty similar case really... Her scarf was tight around her head, made of thin stretchy material that would tear if caught in something, and tucked securely under her top and sports bra. It wasn't going anywhere!

I got told in my coaching course that headscarves were fine as Lon as they don't have pins in them
I love this story, thanks for sharing.

I love that the gymnast is so keen to compete that she is willing to face these kinds of barriers and that she has people around her who are willing to face them alongside her. I love that other gymnasts from opposing teams and the audience stood up alongside her, too. I really love the dignity and style in which you approached it.

Telling them she could remove her head-covering if every male left the auditorium; that is a stroke of absolute genius. Ovation for that on its own. And another for having them see sense.

The only thing I don't like is that it would appear that the fear of adverse publicity probably prevailed over sense and decency but, as it all worked out for the good, I can gloss over that.

Thanks again for sharing; my cockles are officially warmed.
Not open for further replies.