Olympian Heena Sidhu pulled out of the 9th Asian Airgun Shooting Championship in Iran on 29 October, as a mark of protest against the prescribed dress code for sportswomen at the competition.
Like the other women participating in the meet, Sidhu was asked to wear a hijab. However, she refused to do so, saying that she believed a dress code went against the spirit of sport.
Sidhu wrote to the National Rifle Association of India three weeks ago, informing her decision to quit the competition - scheduled to be held in Tehran in December.
In a series of tweets on 29 October, Sidhu said that she was proud to be a sportsperson because people "from different cultures, backgrounds, sexes, ideologies and religion can come together and compete without biases".
"Sport is an exhibition of sheer human effort and performance. Our ability to dig deep for strength, will power and determination," she tweeted.
I thank the NRAI for respecting my views n I wud also like 2wish luck 2 r team competing in Iran. Lets concentrate on competition dan hijab— Heena sidhu (@HeenaSidhu10) October 29, 2016
There have been reports abt me skipping the Asian air weapon competition in Iran due to their practice of making women wear hijab. (1)— Heena sidhu (@HeenaSidhu10) October 29, 2016
Im not a revolutionary. But I feel dat making it mandatory for even a sportsperson to wear hijab is not in the spirit of a Sport. (2)— Heena sidhu (@HeenaSidhu10) October 29, 2016
Im proud 2 b sportsperson coz ppl from diff cultures, backgrouds, sexes, ideologies, religion can cum 2gether n compete without biases (3)— Heena sidhu (@HeenaSidhu10) October 29, 2016
Sport is an exhibition of sheer Human Effort nPerformance. Our ability to dig deep for Strength, Will Power and Determination. (4)— Heena sidhu (@HeenaSidhu10) October 29, 2016
This is d reason I compete n I cannot compete for anything lesser than this. But I wud also not have my personal opinion politicised (5)— Heena sidhu (@HeenaSidhu10) October 29, 2016
According to reports, Sidhu withdrew her name from a championship in Iran for the same reason in 2014. At the Rio Olympics 2016, Sidhu finished 14th after getting eliminated in the qualification round of the 10m women's air pistol category.