[imagesource: Instagram / @handballandslagene]
British Paralympian Olivia Breen, who is competing in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, was told by an official at the English Championships on Sunday that her competition shorts were too short.
Less than 24 hours later, the Norwegian women’s handball team was fined €1 500 (around R26 000) for wearing shorts rather than bikini briefs at the European Beach Championships.
Women are clearly damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
The fact that the Norwegian women’s team opted for lycra blue shorts for their bronze medal match against Spain in Bulgaria at last weekend’s event, counted as a serious transgression in the European Handball Federation’s (EHF) books.
The sports governing body confirmed a fine of 150 euros for each player, with 10 players fined for their “improper clothing” choice.
The Telegraph has more:
The body ruled that Norway had played with shorts that are “not according to the athlete uniform regulations defined in the IHF [International Handball Federation] beach handball rules of the game.”
Norway’s Handball Federation announced it would pay the fine for their players and also backed the athletes in a post on the team’s Instagram account:
“We are very proud of these girls who during the European Championships raised their voices and announced that enough is enough! We at NHF stand behind you and support you.
Together we will continue to fight to change the rules for clothing, so that players can play in the clothes they are comfortable with.”
The EHF also received widespread criticism on social media for being outdated and sexist, as the men’s handball team is allowed to compete in shorts.
The Norwegian women simply wanted to wear clothing that was less revealing and more comfortable in the competition.
Katinka Haltvik, the team’s captain, spoke to the Norweigan broadcaster NRK:
The team were “threatened” with disqualification over their decision to change attire.
“It should be an inclusive sport, not an exclusive sport,” added Haltvik, citing the discomfort that some players feel when wearing bikini briefs.
It’s 2021, and forcing women to compete in clothing that makes them feel uncomfortable should be a thing of the past.
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