German beach volleyball duo boycott Qatar over bikini ban

File: Karla Borger competing for Germany in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. AFP/Yasuyoshi Chiba

BERLIN - Germany's beach volleyball stars Karla Borger and Julia Sude have said they will boycott a tournament in Qatar because it was "the only country" where players were forbidden from wearing bikinis on court.

"We are there to do our job, but are being prevented from wearing our work clothes," Borger told radio station Deutschlandfunk.

"This is really the only country and the only tournament where a government tells us how to do our job -- we are criticising that."

Qatar is hosting the upcoming FIVB World Tour event but strict rules about on-court clothing have led the world championships silver medallist Borger and her doubles partner Sude to shun the event.

The event in March is the first time that Doha has hosted a women's beach volleyball event, after seven years of hosting a men's competition.

Yet female players have been asked to wear shirts and long trousers rather than the usual bikinis, a rule which the world beach volleyball federation FIVB claims is "out of respect for the culture and traditions of the host country".

Borger and Sude told Spiegel magazine during the weekend they "would not go along with" the rules imposed by the Qatari authorities. 

Borger said that they would normally be happy to "adapt to any country", but that the extreme heat in Doha meant that bikinis were necessary.

Her teammate Sude pointed out that Qatar had previously made exceptions for female track and field athletes competing at the World Athletics Championships in Doha in 2019.

Though not as hot as the scorching summer months, temperatures in the Gulf state can reach as high as 30 degrees Celsius in March.


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