Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi says her hijab fell off by accident during competition

Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi, who competed at an event without wearing a mandatory headscarf, has released a message on social media for the first time since concerns were raised for her safety. 

Rekabi, 33, a multiple medallist, said in a post on her Instagram story on Tuesday that she competed without a hair covering because her hijab had “inadvertently” fallen off during the competition in South Korea. 

In the Instagram story, she apologised for “getting everybody worried”.

“Due to bad timing, and the unanticipated call for me to climb the wall, my head covering inadvertently came off,” the story said, according to a translation from the BBC.

It said that she would be flying home to Iran “alongside the team based on the pre-arranged schedule”

It is not clear whether the post was written under duress.

Rekabi’s display without a hijab came as protests rang out across Iran against the death of Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the country’s morality police over her clothing and died in custody.

The demonstrations, drawing a range of Iranians, represent the most serious challenge to Iran’s theocracy since the mass protests surrounding its disputed 2009 presidential election.

Elnaz Rekabi competed at a rock climbing competition in South Korea.(Instagram: elnaz.rekabi/File)

Human rights groups say hundreds of people have been killed as security forces crack down on the protests.

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