khadijah

Geoff Pugh via Telegraph UK

Khadijah Mellah is First to Wear Hijab in UK Horse Race and She Won

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Aug. 1 2019, Published 6:22 p.m. ET

On Thursday afternoon, Khadijah Mellah, an 18-year-old student from Peckham in South London, was believed to be the first jockey to ride in a race in Britain wearing a hijab. Moments later, Khadijah made history with a fairy tale win at the Magnolia Cup at Glorious Goodwood, a charity event in support of Wellbeing Of Women.

Despite the young U.K amateur’s impressive win as the first female Muslim jockey on one of the world’s most famous racecourses, Khadijah Mellah had only first climbed onto an actual racehorse in April. Khadijah has had a keen interest in horses since she was little, but in contrary to her older opponents who had the privilege to learn horse riding almost as soon as they could walk, Khadijah, the daughter of a handyman, did not have the chance to train or participate. This was until her mother saw an advertisement for the Ebony Horse Club, a charity “changing lives in the heart of Brixton through horse riding, horse care, and youth work,” which aims to “transform young lives through horses in south London’s most disadvantaged communities.”

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After winning the race, Khadijah told reporters that she wanted to represent the notion that “ambitious women can make it”:

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“When I passed the post I couldn’t believe it, and then I saw all my family and friends and started crying. I am quite competitive, so I wanted to win this race, but I never expected to. Horses bring me immeasurable amounts of happiness. I’ve always loved them and always will and I hope to carry on and keep riding.”

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“When I passed the post I couldn’t believe it, and then I saw all my family and friends and started crying. I am quite competitive, so I wanted to win this race, but I never expected to. Horses bring me immeasurable amounts of happiness. I’ve always loved them and always will and I hope to carry on and keep riding.”

Khadijah is due to begin studying mechanical engineering at university this autumn, but she hopes to apply for an amateur jockeys’ licence to extend her career on the saddle.

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