Badminton Association blocks female champion from training after losing court battle

Maldives’ female badminton champion Neela Ahmed Najeeb has alleged the Badmintion Association is refusing to allow her to train with the national team despite a court order to reinstate her membership.

The 25 year-old athlete, who holds a string of championship medals and has competed in several international competitions, was suspended from playing almost two years ago after clashing with her Indonesian coach, whom she said had attempted to make her run for four hours as punishment for missing a training session – something she was physically unable to do at the time.

“The Association unfairly and quite harshly terminated Neela without establishing adequate cause and without giving Neela the opportunity to defend herself,” Najeeb’s lawyer Mizna Shareef told Minivan News after the case was filed.

After three hearings Shareef claimed “the Badminton Association has stalled the case by appearing in court without having prepared their statements.”

The judgement, she said, would be a landmark case in encouraging more female  players to play sport at a professional level, “without fear of discrimination and unfair treatment.”

Prior to her termination, Najeeb had been selected to travel to Greece in June last year for a youth training session conducted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), however this was scuttled by her dismissal as endorsement from the Association was required.

The Civil Court last month overturned the Association’s termination of Najeeb, ruling that it was against the Association’s own regulations, and ordered her reinstatement within seven days.

The Badminton Association gave her membership for the time she had missed, but she claimed it was now refusing to allow her to train with the national team “as there is no women’s pool.”

“I’ve been training with the guys for eight years and there’s been no other female in the national team. Now they’ve said I can’t start training because there is no women’s pool,” Najeeb said. “The Maldives International Challenge is coming up in June and I need to train in order to participate. But I have to be a man to practice.”

Najeeb said she had sought help from the Ministry of Human Resources and Sports, “but the Ministry said it was not able to help as the decision was up to the association.”

Other players were also facing situations where their athletic careers were being blocked by a lack of support from the Badminton Association, Najeeb said.

“There are players who have sponsors but are losing opportunities to compete outside the country because they are not receiving support from the association.”

A former female badminton player who played the sport for 25 years prior to suffering a ligament injury told Minivan News that the Badminton Association was obligated to provide female players a chance to play “even if there is only one of them.”

“If there are not enough female players for a pool they still have to be given a chance to play,” she claimed, adding that males and females had trained together in the Maldives for a long time.

President of the Badminton Association Ali Ameer said the association had followed the court order to the letter, “and has no further comment.”

Minister of Human Resources and Sports Hassan Latheef told Minivan News that it would be inappropriate for him to comment until he had informed himself on the case, but said he would do so.


17 thoughts on “Badminton Association blocks female champion from training after losing court battle”

  1. Maybe anyone who has concerns about the Badminton Association's response, should visit their Facebook page and post their concerns there, as I have. The link is

  2. unfortunately, the people at Badminton Association have no ethics let alone any shame, even after losing the court battle. Ali Amir - please grow up and let go of this grudge you hold against Neela.

  3. I'm creating a Maldives Gandu'filla Organization. As the Gandu'filla Association we will carry out many activities such as keeping people from playing Gandu'filla.

  4. this is such a disgrace. Its more humiliation to us then petty crimes on the streets. We only think crimes are just mugging and gang fights, but these are also henious crimes against humanity and is a case of human rights violation.F*** bastards in the Badminton Association.

  5. Maldives appoint a woman as the SAARC secretary general but bans its own female badminton player from entering the practice court. How double standard.

  6. Guess the coach must be an outdated guy who do not have a keen eye on the opposite sex!
    Real coaches of this era can understand graveness of a mistake and will punish accordingly; not this way!
    And it is 100% proof that instead the horse pulling the cart, it is the cart pulling the horse!

  7. I request Minivan News to bring us the court order online so that we can see what is happening here. We must encourage and give opportunities to female players. But it has to be within rules. Please let us see the verdict of the court.

  8. First things first. Ask Dr Majeed : Can women/girls participate in sports, especially ones in which they are scantily clothed?

    Then, and only then, all of you bastards talk anything else.

  9. I fully support this courageous woman. We must give her the opportunity to train and compete. I will also post my view in the facebook as @Kevin armed has.

  10. @ Saleem

    hehe - Dr Majeed? You are very funny!

    He knows so much about women's human rights as evident in this news article on Miadhu News :

    So many Maldivian men have ideas above their capacity to deliver. You should ask how many men are capable of paying maintenance to their children, let alone "look after" their wives!!
    Let's not get mythical about these things. Just get real. So don't go preaching about what women can and can't do.

    Women have the right, same as men, to participate in sport or any other area of social activity of their choice. In this country, same as elsewhere, women are discriminated against due to male insecurity. Male insecurity should not rule the lives of women. It is not something women are prepared to allow to be institutionalised !! This is reality. Welcome to the 21st century.

  11. According to the current constitution there can not be any form of discrimination on the basis of gender, therefore this is a violation of the constitution, saying that there is no pool for women is no excuse. Every single citizen in Maldives should have equal access and opportunity to participate in all activities.
    @ Saleem: Majeed is not the authority to decide who can participate in sports,he should stick to collecting alms and not infringing on the basic rights.

  12. BAM should give up whatever personal grudge they have against Neela, court has ruled against them.
    I think they are just trying to show neela that they could still monopolize the whole thing.

    People with Power - worst enemy in the world

  13. Well we can't have it both ways.

    Either we are Muslim and follow the guidance from Sheikhs on every aspect of it OR
    all agree to consider the current practice and teachings of Islam are not suitable for this generation.

    Either way I am OK. Otherwise it is just pure hypocrisy. And which ever side or colour you like best, hypocrisy is a very foul state.

  14. Neela, don't you think you should give up and start playing something else... may be something different. This is my suggestion.

  15. Neela, please leave Maldives NOW and pursue your sport in a more civilised country. Why are muslim nations, sorry 100% muslim nations, so backward?

  16. @happy infidel

    "Now they’ve said I can’t start training because there is no women’s pool,”

    Perhaps you could change your gender and then you could be her partner in the training.

    Problem solved!!!!


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