In the first women’s bodybuilding competition held in Bangladesh, women contestants were seen with most of their muscles covered to avoid any untoward controversy in the conservative Muslim nation of Bangladesh.
While wearing bikinis at such events is the usual norm at such international events to show the muscles, which is the sole criteria to select the winners, the Bangladeshi contestants wore body-hugging attires and tight leggings during the three-day event in Dhaka that concluded on Sunday.
One of the participants, Awhona Rahman, 29, expressed her happiness over the completion of the event. “We were already informed that there would be proper attire and the outfit provided was in line keeping with the Bangladeshi sentiments. It never occurred to me that I might be subjected to criticism for showing my body. My brother runs a fitness centre and he encouraged me to participate in this contest,” she said.
Nazrul Islam, the Bangladesh Bodybuilding Federation general secretary claimed that the response to the landmark women’s competition which has been aimed to encourage health and fitness among the women in the country has been phenomenal.
“We were very particular about the dress code because of our religious and social culture. We selected long sleeve crop tops and leggings for the girls,” he said.
Islam further added that the success of the event would help in creating jobs for women in a large number of gymnasiums where women now have memberships.
An overwhelming majority of Bangladesh is adherent of Islam which has a primordial set of rules ordained for women. Pursuant to such conservatism, the Bangladesh Bodybuilding Federation kept a modest dress-code for the women participants in a country where they are often forced to remain under the veil. The women in Bangladesh are now breaking the proverbial glass ceiling and having a growing impact in sports such as cricket, football and archery. The bodybuilding federation, however, does not want to impede this growth by courting needless controversy.