Khadijah Mellah becomes first jockey to wear hijab at a British racecourse

KSW Monitoring Desk

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Khadijah Mellah becomes first jockey to wear hijab at a British racecourse.Pic Twitter

The incredible story of the teenage jockey Khadijah Mellah who earlier became first ever jockey to wear hijab at a British racecourse signed off with triumph by winning the 2019 Magnolia Cup.

The teenager from Brixton’s Ebony Horse Club  who only sat on a racehorse on April claimed a thrilling win  at Glorious Goodwood Races

The 18-year-old student is believed to be the first person in the UK to appear in a competitive horse race while wearing a hijab.

It was all-female Magnolia Cup – an amateur jockey’s charity race – alongside former Olympian turned jockey Victoria Pendleton, BBC presenter Alexis Green and TV personality Vogue Williams.

“From a young age, I have wanted to be the person that people look up to,” Khadijah told BBC Sport earlier.

“I have already started receiving other messages from Muslim girls and it makes me really happy to hear from all these people that I’m affecting positively.”

Khadijah got into horse riding seven years go, but had not sat on a racehorse before April this year. She has been training at Newmarket in the build-up to the Goodwood Festival.

“People have been very welcoming to the prospect of having a new face in the jockey industry,” she said.

“I enjoy having conversations about people who are genuinely curious.

“Sometimes it’s hard explaining my background over and over again to lots of different people, but generally I like explaining where I’ve come from and how I’ve got to where I have.”

According to the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation, the number of female British Muslim Jockeys – past and present – is in “single digits”. But in the horse racing world, Khadijah views her identity as a conversation starter.

“When I ride out in Newmarket I do try to spot any other women of colour and there was only one in over 200 riders,” she said.

“But it doesn’t faze me; it means that I end up talking to loads of people and making great connections, so I’m happy.

“It makes me feel sort of blessed because not many people get the opportunity to represent. It adds a little meaning to life.”

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