The Asian Women’s Kabaddi Championship was claimed by India as they defeated Pakistan to lift the trophy. The tournament unfolded in Iran and sparked a social media debate for a reason altogether different from the competition and the sport. Media reports in Iran reported Thai coach dressed as a woman sneaked in to watch the female matches illegally. The Iranian Kabaddi Federation slammed the mentor for his act calling it unacceptable. Several pictures of the unnamed man floated on social media which showed him wearing a scarf or hijab to get access to women’s games at the stadium in Gorgan, Iran.

While in some pictures the Thai coach was seen covering his head with a white scarf there were pictures of him hiding in a black hijab as well. Reports suggested he was asked to leave once he was caught inside the arena which strongly bares media and male members from entering. However, the coach once again managed to get inside by deceiving the security officials in a women’s attire. The man was identified as Thailand’s coach by the jacket that he was wearing. As per the Iranian media, the jacket was from the Thai sports kit. The coach’s made this attempt to watch his team play suggest reports.

The Iranian Kabaddi Federation slammed the coach for his act and demanded an unconditional apology from him. A spokesman for the Iranian federation, Abuzar Markalai, told the website Jam-e Jam, that the Thai coach should “apologise for his disrespectful gesture towards women”. Meanwhile, the federation in a statement condemned the behaviour and termed it as violation of host country’s rules.

Iran doesn’t allow men to enter stadiums where women athletes are in action. The women athletes are also bound to wear a hijab in order to be a part of the sporting events in the country, a move which has been opposed by athletes. There have been several attempts by social activists in the country to get the ban on women lifted across sects including sports but to no avail. This attempt of the Thai coach adapting an indigent step to just be with his team shows that the country despite growing so much in terms of Kabaddi is far behind when it comes to equality in society. The Iranian Kabaddi teams have scaled heights at various global events.

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