Just when you thought sports world couldn’t get anymore sexist than before, one bizarre news has shaken the world once again. A 12-year-old girl participated in a chess tournament in Malaysia, but had to withdraw from it after an argument over her attire. The tournament organizers allegedly found her knee-length dress too “seductive” and a “temptation” to let her compete further in the tournament, the girl’s coach said.
The tournament, which was held from April 14-16, was headed by the director of the National Scholastic Chess Championship. The organizers apparently pulled her out in the middle of the second round on Thursday after the officials accused her of improper dressing.
“We found this statement completely out of line!” youth chess coach Kaushal Khandhar wrote on Facebook.
As disturbing as it sounds, Malaysian chess player Kaushal Khandar accused organisers of making sexist remarks, due to which his student found herself in an “extremely embarrassed” and “disturbed” situation. According to him, the actions of the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017 director and chief arbiter was biased. However, according to the FIDE, world chess’ governing body, the organisers must ensure participants with “dignified appearance”.
“I have been playing chess in Malaysia for almost two decades and I have never heard of this type of issue ever in any tournaments in Malaysia,” Khandhar added.
There are certain Muslim-majority countries, which impose restrictions on female participants, but Malaysian women were an exception. They were allowed to wear skirts or even shorts.
“We are absolutely DISGUSTED by the treatment of the Tournament Director to a 12-year-old girl and her mother,” Khandhar continued. “This incident has resulted in loss of time and money which was invested before, during and after the tournament on coaching, registration fees, travelling, accommodation and other incurred costs,” he added. He said if the organisers were so particular about dress code, then why was the young girl was allowed to play in the same dress in the first round of the tournament.
Later, the tournament organizers asked the girl, who is a district chess champion, to go and buy a pair of slacks and return to the event the next day, Khandhar said. He also alleged that she was asked to get a dress when the shops were all closed. Thus the next day’s call time of 9 am could not be met and the girl had to withdraw her name.
Khandhar demands a public apology to the girl and her family.
According to Malay Mail Online, the organisers on Friday said a police complaint is on the cards.
“The claim (Khandhar) posted is different from the official complaint (from the mother),” the MCF told the Malay Mail Online, noting it could not comment further due to legal concerns. “We will take action once the report comes out.”
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Chess Federation is investigating the incident.
“My daughter was shocked after her game was interrupted by the chief arbiter,” said Chin Wai Lings, the girl’s mother.
Feature Image Credit: Kaushal Khandhar/Facebook
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