While Lucie Marie Kretzschmar, a beach handball player from Germany, was competing in a tournament in Romania, she saw a former spectator typing with her cell phone.
As he left the court he saw that he was increasing the bodies of women athletes, dressed in mini bikini bottoms as demanded by the sports team. Then he saw her in the other two games, recording the players again.
The 2019 tournament left a question for Ms. Kretzschmar and his teammates: Did the spectators there watch them play as elite athletes or laugh at their bodies?
“This really made me think,‘ Yeah, maybe they don’t look at us as a professional player, ’” Ms.
Event organizers have asked the man to leave, but the group continues to question, as well as other concerns about sexism and double standards about female athletes in each case. level of competition and in sports such as baseball, badminton and tennis.
On Wednesday, after the world became angry over the crisis, Hassan Moustafa, president of the International Handball Federation, said new rules would be put in place.
Last month, Norway’s beach handball team was fined 1,500 euros for using shorts in front of a bikini at a bronze medal match in Bulgaria, a punishment that has been widely condemned. a lawsuit against the law and an offer from singer Pink to pay. good.
Companies from Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain and American Samoa have stepped up their efforts to encourage the IHF, the sport’s governing body, to change its rules.
The IHF requires women to wear bikini bottoms “with a proper fit and cut at an angle to the top of the foot.” The sides of the bikini bottom should not be more than four inches. Men, on the other hand, can wear short bags up to four inches above their knees if they are long “not big bags.”
The Norwegian handball team decided last week that the IHF would lift its bottom bikini rule, citing a double standard of clothing for men and women athletes. “Players have two or four options to choose from,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the IHF, which is based in Basel, Switzerland, says it will not change until its world conference in November.
The Association has decided to require female players to wear bikini bottoms because that is the rule for beach volleyball, which is played on the same skin, said Mr. Moustafa in a statement.
The IHF also said it was “fortunate” for Norwegian athletes to wear shorts, contrary to the rules, during the Olympics.
“Due to the timing of their protests and their publicity, only the players’ performances were covered, ”the team said.
The Danish Handball Federation wrote, in a letter to the IHF in May, that some Danish players had decided not to compete in this year’s tournament because they were injured in a bikini.
“A lot of people don’t like it when they wear little clothes that aren’t covered before the clothes,” the letter said. The Danish team asked for the rules to be lifted, allowing its players to enter shorts, but the request was denied, the team said.
Morten Frandsen Holmen, president of the Danish women’s association, said, “If you click on‘ beach shorts ’into Google, you can find thousands of photos of women that make you think,‘ It’s important. “In interviews, athletes from many teams said they were worried about bikini bottoms slipping away from them.”
Kare Geir Lio, head of the Norwegian Handball Federation, said Norway had complained several times since 2006 about claiming the IHF, because some women were ashamed of how many of them they had. persons shown but not required to do so. cultural tradition.
In American Samoa, for example, where many people are dressed in conservative clothing, the bikini demand has made beach handball players uncomfortable, according to local players and coaches.
When the territory’s beach baseball team won the 2017 regional tournament, the players, who range in age from 15 to 17, didn’t want to. wear a swimsuit for the next level of competition, said CJ Sagapolutele Floor Sr. the company.
However, the IHF has told the Lions that athletes, who usually wear shorts, need to wear a bikini bottom if they want to compete in the world championships in Mauritius.
“I have to get permission from the parents first,” said Mr. Sagapolutele Floor, is also the vice president of the Oceania Continent Handball Federation. The parents agreed, but the girls were embarrassed to see pictures of themselves from the game, with their legs open, she said.
Athletes choose not to wear the lion because of the clothing, he said. “It seems inappropriate for men to wear shorts and clothes and for women to wear bikinis and sports gloves,” she said.
Naomi Mataua Aasa, a beach handball player for the American Samoa team, said the rules for female players have been lowered.
The girls have been harassed by male players because of the clothes they wear, he said, and the pictures posted on the website include embarrassing pictures of their bodies.
The different rules stated “that’s where we put a test before we mark the same athletes.”