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Norway rebels against obligatory bikini in beach handball

Perhaps Varna will go down in history as the place where everything changed. Because in the Bulgarian city, it is located in the last days of the European Beach Handball Championshipthe Norwegian women’s team he has dared to challenge regulations requiring women to compete in bikinis, something that they consider discriminatory, outdated, that sexualizes the athlete for free and that can even be negative for the development of this sport. The Nordic team played the match for the bronze (which hung the Spanish team) with mallesputting on the table the debate on this rule that the Beach volley, for example, abolished at the London Olympics (after being in force in Sydney, Athens and Beijing). This 2012 the International Boxing Association also tried that the boxers fought with skirt and shortly before FIBA ​​looked to force basketball players to play in tight outfitsto give other examples.

“I thought these things weren’t happening anymore.” said former Norwegian volleyball player Merita Berntsen Mol. Norway, with the support of Sweden, has already protested before the European Beach Handball Championship (a spectacular sport that chose to be Olympic in 2024) and demanded that anyone who wanted to be able to play with tights, but the European Handball Federation (EHF) he stood firm by wielding the regulation. Men are required to wear “sleeveless, tight-fitting T-shirts”. At the bottom, the rule speaks for themselves of “shorts”and, “as long as they are not too loose,” the text adds, “they may be longer, but should be 10 inches above the kneecap ».

Women are more demanding: “Women’s tops [un disseny amb l’estómac al descobert] they also have to be adjusted, with extensions cut wide at the back. And the differences remain with the bottom of the clothing: “The players have to wear it lower bikinis with tight waist and cut at an upward angle to the upper leg. The wide side should be a maximum of 10 inches». In beach volleyball the norm reduced the fabric even further, to just 6 inches.

All in all, the Norwegian players were willing to defy regulations and start the European without complying with the dress code, but the pressures they were very strong. “First we were told we would receive a fine of 50 euros per person per party, which would mean a penalty of 5,000 euros. And we answered that okay “, said his captain, Katinka Haltvik, on Norwegian public service broadcasting (NRK). “But then they told us that the amount could increase in each match and threatened us with other unspecified penalties. Just before the first game we were warned that we disqualifyso we saw each other forced to play with a bikiniShe said desolately. The EHF confirmed the fines, but denied threatening to expel the team from the European Championship.

The president of the Norwegian federation, Kåre Geir Lio, qualified the reaction of the EHF is “annoying and discouraging”. “It simply came to our notice then. In this the team has our full support “. Lio explained that for years a committee has been trying to change the rules, that it has been taken to several EHF congresses and that they have even promised that the problem would be solved, but “nothing has happened yet ». “It’s very sad for the players who have to deal with all this,” he said. Norway will send one letter of protest to the European federation with the support of Sweden, Denmark and France.

“We lost players by bikini”

The same Welsh coach, Valérie Nicolassays that “if nothing has changed before the next championship”, he himself he will press for his players to dress as they please. «I we will accept the consequences of this». Far from being a whim, Nicolas uses unquestionable reasons to change these regulations. «We lost players because of the dress. Players tell me they don’t feel comfortable, that they feel naked and watched. This is a sport with a lot of movement and the bikini clumsySays the technician, who adds: “It also means a problem in relation to menstruation, not to mention religion».

After abiding by the rules until the semi-finals, where they were eliminated by Denmark, the Norwegian players chose to play in the consolation final with meshes. Spain won by two sets to zero and were left without a medal, but got a much more important victory.

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