German beach volleyball stars Karla Borger and Julia Sude will boycott a tournament in Qatar next month because they are being prevented from wearing bikinis on court.
Qatar is hosting the upcoming FIVB World Tour event but strict rules about on-court clothing have left world champion silver medallists Borger and doubles partner Sude up in arms.
“We are there to do our job, but are being prevented from wearing our work clothes,” Borger told radio station Deutschlandfunk on Sunday.
“This is really the only country and the only tournament where a government tells us how to do our job — we are criticising that.”
The Qatar volleyball association reacted to the news by explaining they were “committed to ensuring that all athletes are made to feel welcome and comfortable at next month’s event.”
“We would like to make clear that we are not making any demand on what athletes should wear at the event,” a statement insisted.
In a decision supported by the German volleyball federation DVV, Borger and Sude told Spiegel magazine during the weekend they “would not go along with” the rules imposed by the Qatari authorities and were planning to boycott the event entirely.
Borger said they would normally be happy to “adapt to any country”, but that the extreme heat in Qatar would make playing in anything more than bikinis unbearable.
Borger also questioned whether Qatar was a suitable host nation to be holding such an event.
“We are asking whether it’s necessary to hold a tournament there at all,” she said.