Iranian swimmer Elham Sadat Asghari set a new record when she swam 20 kilometers (12.4274 miles) in open waters. Because of Iran’s customs, Asghari performed the feat while wearing a full diving suit, full jacket, and a headscarf.
Despite her best efforts to cover up all of her body, sports authorities in Iran claim her swimsuit was too “revealing” and therefore the record is void.
Thanks to Iran’s extremely repressive practices towards women, females in the country typically swim in all-female pools and only on the national level. Iranian women do not compete internationally for fear that men will see them.
Elham Sadat Asghari prefers to forgo all-women pools for the comfort of the open sea. In 2008, the female swimmer set the former swimming record, which she officially broke on June 11.
However, after she told Iranian media that she broke the record by swimming 20 kilometres in the Caspian Sea near the northern city of Noshahr, officials chose to ignore her record.
According to authorities in the Islamist country, too much of her figure was “visible” when she exited the water. Representatives for Iran’s sports ministry based on her swim “revealing” nature have attempted to knock two kilometers off her total distance.
This isn’t the first time that Elham Sadat Asghari has run into problems with Iran’s government and its sports authority. In 2010, Ashghari was attempting to swim around Kish island in a three day period when police boats rammed into her and the people assisting her. That run in left the swimmer with a leg injury and a lacerated hip caused by a boat propellers.
After her run-in with Iranian police, Elham Sadat Asghari gave up swimming for a few years before deciding it was time for a return to the Caspian Sea.
While Iran’s sports authority has attempted to penalize the swimmer, thousands of people have spoken out against the ministry via Asghari’s Facebook page.