'It's been nice to represent' First jockey to race in hijab hopes she will inspire other Muslim athletes 2 months ago

'It's been nice to represent' First jockey to race in hijab hopes she will inspire other Muslim athletes

"It’s been disappointing not to see other Muslim women or women of colour in the industry."

The first jockey to race in hijab has said that she hopes she can inspire other Muslim athletes to compete in the sport.

Khadijah Mellah, taking part in the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood today, will become the first woman to race wearing the traditional garment.

The 18-year-old said that she is proud to represent her community.

"It’s been a bit scary but I’m ready to race," she told Good Morning Britain today.

"It’s been disappointing not to see other Muslim women or women of colour in the industry. So it’s been nice to represent people.

"The amount of questions and attention has been great because I am able to explain and answer questions and talk to curious people. I am happy to talk to people about it, it’s what I love to do."

Mellah, who rode a horse for the first time three months ago, will compete against Vogue Williams and Victoria Pendleton in today's all women charity race.

Set to become a mechanical engineering student in September, she said that proving people wrong about what young Muslim women can achieve has been a crucial part of her horse riding experience.

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Moments before my 4th near death experience :/

A post shared by Khadijah Mellah (@khadijah_mellah) on

"There are definitely a fair few guys out there who would struggle to do what I am doing, and I am thrilled that I am part of shift in social understanding of what women can achieve and what they can be good at," she said.

‘There’s quite a stereotype around Muslim girls and them ‘not being able to follow their sporting passions and dreams’.

"I want to be a role model to anyone who wants to do something that they wouldn’t initially believe was in their comfort zone, and allow people to follow their aspirations and dreams."

20x20 is an ambitious two-year long initiative to better promote and champion women in sport.

With the tagline of "if she can't see it, she can't be it," the 20x20 movement has three targets to reach by 2020:

  • 20 percent more media coverage of women in sport
  • 20 percent more female participation
  • 20 percent more attendance at women’s competitions and events

And at Maximum Media, we're proud that Her and SportsJOE is backing the 20x20 movement as official digital media partners.