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Indonesian Volleyball Star Wilda Siti Nurfadilah: a History-Maker and Trailblazer in the Sport

Wilda talks about normalising wearing a hijab on the court in this exclusive interview

Indonesian volleyball superstar Wilda Siti Nurfadilah recently led her club Bandung BJB Tandamata to yet another Proliga title. In an exclusive interview, Wilda talks about normalising wearing a hijab on the court, the support of fans, and balancing her professional Volleyball career, university education and flourishing fashion business.

Wilda started playing Volleyball at the age of nine after her parents introduced her to the sport. She represented Indonesia for the first time in 2010, at just 15 years old, and has since cemented herself as one of Indonesia’s Volleyball stars and a leader both on and off the court.

She joined Bandung BJB Tandamata in 2016 and made headlines in 2017 at the Southeast Asian Games as she was among the first female Volleyball athletes to wear a hijab while competing, one year after Egypt’s Doaa Elghobashy wore a hijab on the sand at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 following progressive uniform rule changes in 2012.

“It wasn’t always easy wearing a hijab on the Volleyball court. I experienced some negative responses at the start, but I was determined to wear one because this is an important part of my identity and what I feel most comfortable playing Volleyball in. People are so used to it now that I don’t really experience any hate, only love from our incredible fans!”

Wilda’s success on the court proved that wearing her hijab had no bearing on her incredible sporting performance. In fact, through her fashion brand called fadhillahhijab, Wilda has created a line of high-performance hijabs specifically designed for sport.

“There were not many stores that sold hijabs for sport. So I decided to design and make my own brand of hijabs for this purpose, and it turned out that many people liked them and wanted to buy them.”

A trailblazer for women’s Volleyball, Wilda opened the door for players in Indonesia and around the world to express themselves on the court. This diversity and inclusion was on full display during the most recent Indonesian Women’s Proliga finals in Yogyakarta.

While playing volleyball professionally and running a successful business, Wilda also found time to continue her studies at university, completing her degree in economic management at Bandung Raya University and, more recently, a master’s in physical education at STKIP Pasundan.

Last month, Wilda led Bandung BJB Tandamata in the club’s successful defence of its Indonesian Proliga crown and fourth title in the history of the competition. As captain, Wilda plays a key role in keeping the team on track and focused, no matter the obstacles.

“I’m very grateful to have a good career in Indonesian Volleyball. So this experience is extraordinary because being a team captain is not easy. As a team, we have an emotional side and we are sensitive to how we are performing on the court. As captain, I must be able to intervene and mediate. It’s not easy but it is an honour to lead the team.”

In addition to winning titles with her club, Wilda regularly plays for the national team. She was a key part of the Indonesian team that won silver at the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur. She describes this as one of the most beautiful moments in her life.

Looking ahead, Wilda is determined to do her best no matter what comes her way.

“I am not an ambitious person, I just do what must be done. But every time I do something, I will give my all and do my best.”

Source : Volleyball World