An Iranian archer has claimed she did not notice her hijab fall off her head during an awards ceremony in Tehran.
Parmida Ghasemi has denied claims that she was showing solidarity with Iranian protestors after footage showed her without her headscarf in front of officials.
Many online believed Ghasemi had been protesting the strict Iranian regime in the wake of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death while in police custody.
Amini had allegedly been arrested for not properly covering her hair.
Ghasemi had been showered with praise for her protest, however, she has taken to Instagram to insist that this wasn’t the case.
In a video posted to Instagram, as per ESPN, she says she had not noticed the hijab falling ‘due to wind and a lot of stress’.
She said in the video: “This led to reactions which caused some misunderstandings. My family and I have not, nor have ever had, any problem with the hijab. I wanted to apologise to the people, officials and my teammates.”
The Times of Israel reports that many Iranians online suspected her statement to have been forced by authorities.
Many online had initially applauded Ghasemi.
One wrote: “Incredibly brave! Iranian archer Parmida Ghasemi removed her mandatory hijab at an official award ceremony in Tehran.”
Another said: “Although she knows what will come next!
“She's a hero, another carrier of the Iran Revolution.”
A third added: “Another Iranian athlete, Parmida Ghassemi, has removed her hijab to peacefully protest the state's forced-hijab law.
“These brave women face severe persecution in Iran for engaging in freedom of expression.”
SPORTbible reached out to the Iranian government for comment.
Ghasemi’s protest denial comes after Iranian professional climber Elnaz Rekabi competed without wearing her hijab.
The BBC reported that her friends became worried after she went missing.
She later broke her silence claiming the hijab has accidentally come off during the competition, rather than being an act of defiance.
Last week, Iranian beach soccer player Saeed Piramoun were hailed as heroes after mimicking a haircut celebration during a tournament.
The Iranian football federation later said they would discipline those who had failed to keep politics out of football.
Featured Image Credit: @GhonochehAzad/Twitter.
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