Iranian Climber Elnaz Rekabi Competes Without Hijab, Sparking Fear That She ‘Could Make History’
The 24-year-old has climbed without any pants on.
“I am Elnaz Rekabi, the only woman among the five members of Iran’s national team,” Rekabi said in an Instagram post in which she was decked out in her signature black and white polka dot pants and a matching headscarf.
“I have climbed without any pants on four times. I am a national champion for the first time as a climber,” she said.
Rekabi is competing in the Badminton World Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia, against the United States’ Madison Keys, on Saturday.
Climbing in a sport that requires you to wear pants and a helmet to compete is a relatively new phenomenon, but it has been on the rise for several decades. While climbing without pants on only happened for the first time in 2015, it gained wider attention last year, after American climber Sarah Hahn went without pants and climbed Mount Everest without them.
“The idea of climbing without pants as a sport gained popularity a few years ago, but it started gaining more momentum in the last few years,” she told The New York Times after her climb.
“I had heard about women, like Hahn, who climb without pants on, but I didn’t really think it was going to be an option for me,” she said. “I wanted to be the first female soloist on a 7.8 or 8-pitch climb in the world.”
She made it.
Now, a 24-year-old Iranian climber has gone in the same direction: She’s climbed without pants on four times and is the only woman among the five members of the Iranian national team.
Rekabi climbed without pants on Mount Ruchama in the Karun region, in the northern part of Iran, in April, according to the climbing guide.