Freestyle

Teenager doesn’t let gender — or a headscarf — hold her back from her dreams

In one soccer-mad country, a young woman sporting a headscarf has become a sensation with her freestyle dribbling, juggling, and the remarkable tricks she’s able to perform with a ball. According to The Economic Times, in Malaysia, soccer is a sport almost entirely dominated by men in the Muslim majority country, but 18-year-old Qhouirunnisa’ Endang Wahyudi says that women should not be discouraged from participating in the game — even if they are expected to wear loose clothing and a headscarf.

“The headscarf is not an obstacle. It’s normal — it’s just how you handle it,” she told AFP. “With freestyle, you can be free as long as you don’t show (your body).”

The teenager explained that she began learning freestyle soccer in 2016 after seeing videos of tricks and training being performed by other girls online — in particular, she says, she loves the work of French freestyle star Lisa Zimouche, who boasts 1.5 million followers on Instagram. Videos like this one show why Zimouche attracted such a huge following — and is inspiring others.

And while Qhouirunnisa’ has the support of her family in her own pursuit of soccer-centric stardom, the freestyler acknowledged that she was definitely an outlier from the norm — at least for now.

“Freestyle in Malaysia is mostly (practised by) men,” said Qhouirunnisa’. “[But] being a woman is not an obstacle. You can be active in sports.”

Watch Qhouirunnisa’ freestyle and speak during an interview with AFP below.

Read the full story at The Economic Times.

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