Qatar out of women's basketball over hijab row
By Peter Rutherford
INCHEON South Korea (Reuters) - Qatar pulled out of the women's basketball competition at the Asian Games on Thursday after refusing to abide by international regulations preventing them from wearing hijabs, while organizers said they were powerless to do anything about it.
The Qatari players had been asked to remove their head coverings before their opening group game against Mongolia on Wednesday, but chose to forfeit the match instead.
According to International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules, Article 4.2.2 dictates players cannot wear "headgear, hair accessories and jewelry".
With no sign of the rule being relaxed ahead of their scheduled match against Nepal on Thursday, Qatar decided to withdraw from their remaining games at the 17th Asiad, which is being run under the slogan: 'Diversity Shines Here'.
"We have decided not to take part in the remainder of the Asian Games women's basketball competition," an assistant with Qatar's National Olympic Committee told Reuters by telephone.
Nepal's players took the court for 15 minutes at the Samsan World Gymnasium, passing and shooting among themselves, before the forfeit was announced.
Both Qatar games were recorded as 20-0 defeats on the Games' official website.