Amina El Sergany does not need a referee’s platform to be noticed on a beach volleyball court.
The first Muslim woman to officiate the sport at the Olympics, El Sergany worked the London Games dressed in a hijab that, when covered by the standard referee’s uniform, showed only her face and hands. From her elevated position beside the net, she stood in stark contrast to the beach party wardrobe worn by the Horse Guards Parade Dance team and the athletes themselves.
“It doesn’t matter for me. It is normal for me,” the Egyptian said this week in an interview between assignments. “I think first they (the players) were afraid of me, but after that they got used to me and deal with me in a good way. Nobody talks to me about that. They respected me like every other referee.”