6 Jul 2013

Improper togs deny Iranian swimmer

4:41 pm on 6 July 2013

An Iranian woman says authorities have denied her a free water swimming record after saying that her costume failed to meet the standards of sharia law.

Elham Asghari, 32, who also teaches swimming, says she swam 18 kilometres in eight hours in the Caspian Sea in northern Iran on June 11 off a "women only" beach.

The sports ministry refused to approve the record, saying she was not wearing an approved costume under sharia law, Asghari said in a video posted on YouTube after the swim.

A representative of the federation refused to certify her record, saying the deputy sports minister told him that her costume was not suitable for free water swimming.

Asghari says during her swim she was wearing a suit, a hat, and headscarf, clothes that weigh six pounds when soaked in water.

Women in Iran, regardless of nationality or religion, are required to cover their hair and body and to avoid heavy make-up and nail polish.