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Muslim boxer creates history as she makes Australia's Paris Olympics team – and reveals how she deals with fighting in a hijab

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  • Tina Rahimi will represent Australia at the Olympics 
  • She wears a full hijab when she competes in the ring 
  • Rahimi, 27, won bronze at the Commonwealth Games 

Tina Rahimi has made history after becoming the first female Muslim boxer to represent Australia at an Olympic Games. 

Rahimi, 27, has been named as one of the 12 fighters to qualify for the Paris event in 2024, with Australia sending its largest-ever boxing team to the Games.

Rahimi, from Bankstown in Sydney, wears a full hijab for her bouts and won bronze in the featherweight division at the Commonwealth Games last year. 

She also won gold at the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands, and admitted that boxing while wearing a hijab in such sweltering conditions was an uncomfortable experience. 

‘Oh god, it’s extremely hot,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald. ‘In the Solomon Islands, the humidity was insane. As soon as I put the head cover on, I was dripping sweat. But, like with fasting and training, I adjust.’ 

Tina Rahimi will compete for Australia at the Olympic Games in Paris

Tina Rahimi will compete for Australia at the Olympic Games in Paris

The 27-year-old fights in a full hijab and won bronze at the Commonwealth Games

The 27-year-old fights in a full hijab and won bronze at the Commonwealth Games

Rahimi also competed during Ramadan this year. She took part in the Women’s World Boxing Championship in India while abstaining from food and drink from dawn until sunset. 

‘I had to get my running in before sunrise in order to keep up my training and water levels,’ she said. ‘I could only do one session a day. I felt very fatigued, drained. But it’s part of my religion and so it’s important to me.’ 

Rahimi works as a make-up artist when away from the ring, and says that her expertise in that field has helped her after her fights.

‘At last year’s world championships in Turkey, I had bruises all around my eyes,’ she said. ‘But by the time I’d finished applying make-up, you couldn’t tell.’ 

‘I sparred with a girl once,’ she said. ‘I broke her nose but she already had breathing problems, so it wasn’t the result of my lack of discipline in the ring. 

‘I didn’t feel good about it, even if she already had problems. I ended up doing her make-up for her. As soon as it happened, I said, ‘You’re coming to my studio free of charge’.’  

Rahimi revealed how uncomfortable it can be to compete in a full hijab

Rahimi revealed how uncomfortable it can be to compete in a full hijab

Rahimi comes from fighting pedigree, wth her father, Michael, a freestyle wrestling champion who only missed out on representing Australia at the 1992 Olympics because the national federation was only sending athletes in the 68kg and 74kg weight classes.

‘I am now training twice a day for six days a week,’ she said. ‘I can’t wait to get to Paris and represent Australia.’

Asked about going to the City of Love to fight, Fahimi said: ‘I might find love there but, in the meantime, my love of boxing will do. I fell in love with it the moment I started. I didn’t want to stop. It felt so good.’