Farah Ann Abdul Hadi has won a total of six medals at the Southeast Asia games, including a double gold, so probably expected to be in the news for all the right reasons.
However after the 21 year old was criticised for her revealing attire by religious leaders due to the fact she is Muslim, her name has been in the media for reasons she probably didn’t anticipate.
Social media trolls and religious leaders have heavily criticised her for showing her thighs and wearing a leotard during the games, with the Malaysian coming under increased scrutiny simply for wearing what is considered standard attire for gymnasts.
Cleric Harussani Zakaria spoke to one newspaper and claimed:
Gymnastics is not for Muslim women. It is clear that exposing one’s aurat and the shape of one’s body is haram (forbidden in Islam).
If Muslim women want to participate in gymnastics, they have to find outfits which cover the aurat and this, in turn, might not be suitable for the sport.
Despite this, there has been masses of support for the gold winning gymnast on social media, with plenty jumping to her defence and stating it is her right to wear what she sees as fit.
— Regina Lee (@reginalah) June 12, 2015
Congrats to @farahannhadi on her well deserved gold medal. Don't listen to small minded people. Malaysia is so proud of you! ❤️
— Mina Rosli (@MinaTheTerrible) June 13, 2015
There is also a Facebook page supporting the 21 year old, that has 18,000 likes and counting, with Malaysia’s Minister for Youth and Sports being one of her most vocal defenders.
In gymnastics Farah wowed the judges and brought home gold. In her deeds only the Almighty judges her. Not you. Leave our athletes alone.
— Khairy Jamaluddin (@Khairykj) June 12, 2015
He also spoke at a press conference in Singapore and claimed:
I think this whole incident also smacks of sexism. Nobody has complained about … kinky Speedos, or Sazali (Samad) wearing tight shorts when he flexes his muscles but when it comes to gymnasts, suddenly it’s a big problem.