The Under-16 Women's Asia Championship 2017, a basketball competition taking place in Bangalore, India, from October 22 to 28, has been invested with historic meaning.
As of today, October 1, a new International Basketball Federation (FIBA) directive comes into effect allowing players to wear full headgear - which means that traditional dress codes in certain countries can now be accommodated within the rules.
This means that Muslim women need no longer feel precluded from the sport because of a religious requirement or a desire to wear the traditional head covering of a hijab, the Islamic headscarf.
The new FIBA ruling, unanimously ratified by representatives from 139 National Federations at the first-ever Mid-Term Congress held in Hong Kong on May 4, will free many female athletes from having to choose between honouring their faith or playing their sport.
The tournament due to get underway in Bangalore this month is the first official FIBA event that will be affected by this shift in position.
The original position on headgear, adopted by FIBA 20 years ago, was that it might lead to injuries either through contact or tripping if it came loose.
FIBA regulations prohibited any headgear wider than five inches, which effectively excluded women wearing hijabs from participating.
But in February, FIBA told its Rules Committee to create a proposal that outlined how headgear such as hijabs, turbans or yarmulkes could be worn safely during games.
The technicalities of the new rule have been developed in a way that minimises the risks and preserves consistency in terms of the colour of the playing kit.
The FIBA wording on this is as follows: "The provisions of the new rule mean that headgear is allowed when it is black or white, or of the same dominant colour as that of the uniform; it is one same colour for all players on the team (as all accessories); it does not cover any part of the face entirely or partially (eyes, nose, lips etc.); it is not dangerous to the player wearing it and/or to other players; it has no opening/closing elements around the face and/or neck; it has no parts extruding from its surface".
The FIBA report continued: "The new rule comes as a result of the fact that traditional dress codes in some countries - which call for the head and/or entire body being covered - were incompatible with FIBA's previous headgear rule.
"FIBA initiated a revision process of its headgear rule in September 2014, with exceptions being granted at national level as part of a two-year testing period.
"This past January, the Central Board received a report and, upon reviewing it, approved for the rule to be modified.
"It issued a mandate to its Technical Commission to come up with a proposal and this was approved by the Central Board."
There was much praise at the Hong Kong Mid-Term Congress for the historical moment in the development of the game that occurred in Iran on April 13 this year, when a FIBA test game featuring women wearing hijabs marked the first time men in Iran had been allowed to witness a women's sporting event first hand.
Under Iran's Islamic rules, male fans have been barred from attending women's sporting events, but many had been pushing to change that practice and it was believed that allowing women to wear headgear would aid the process.
Mahmoud Mashhoun and Ali Towfigh, respectively the President and secretary general of the Basketball Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, were present at the game, and FIBA was represented by Lubomir Kotleba, adviser to the secretary general.
"I would like to thank FIBA for this opportunity and for supporting us for all these years," Mashhoun said on the night. "It is an historical day not just for Iran but for the whole Muslim world. We are hopeful that FIBA will come up with a positive decision regarding the matter of headgear."
FIBA secretary general and International Olympic Committee member Patrick Baumann added: "This is a historical moment for women's sport in Iran. I would like to thank the Federation and the Iranian authorities for making this unprecedented event take place."
The impetus for change in the ruling was partly created by discussions that took place on social media, a process that was overseen by two United States college players, Indira Kaljo and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.
FIBA also received petitions for the ban on headgear to be repealed from numerous other female college players involved in the question.
Kaljo and Abdul-Qaadir achieved success in high school and college basketball. Abdul-Qaadir was the 2009 Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year and scored more than 3,000 points during high school, a state record for both boys and girls. She was named to the C-USA All-Academic team during her career at the University of Memphis.
Kaljo was a Junior College All-American player who only began wearing the hijab in her late 20s.
Both women were reportedly unable to pursue a professional basketball career as a result of their religious convictions.
The change in policy was sought by many others in the game, including Breanna Stewart, who was one of a dozen Women's National Basketball Association players who signed a letter on social media that was sent to the FIBA President, Horacio Muratore.
"I think it would mean a lot," Stewart said. "Obviously with what's going on in this world, we strive for equality. I think when you're on the court or playing your sport, that's your safe haven to get away from everything else that's going on. It's huge for them to be able to feel welcomed on the court and play."
FIBA's thinking on this matter appears to have followed the same course as that of FIFA, the world governing body for football.
In June 2011 FIFA officials defended their refusal to allow the Iranian women's team to wear head scarves while playing in an Olympic qualifying round in Amman, Jordan.
FIFA safety rules enacted the previous year allowed women to wear "a cap that covers their head to the hairline, but which does not extend below the ears to cover the neck". FIFA claimed wearing larger head covers such as a hijab posed too great a risk to the head or neck.
Iran's coach chose to forfeit the match with Jordan rather than dressing players in the smaller FIFA-approved head covering.
"Despite initial assurances that the Iranian delegation understood this, the players came out wearing the hijab, and the head and neck totally covered, which was an infringement of the laws of the game," FIFA said.
Three players on Jordan's team who wanted to wear hijab scarves for religious reason also sat out the match.
The FIFA statement concluded that match officials "decided to apply correctly the laws of the game, which ended in the match being abandoned".
In the meantime, there had also been calls from the Sikh community in Canada for the ban on the wearing of turbans to be lifted.
However, following a request from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the International Football Association Board (IFAB) allowed for their safety to be tested during the trial.
Three years later, the FIFA position shifted as its policy-making arm IFAB met in Zurich and officially authorised the wearing of head covers by males or females for religious reasons during football matches.
Following the AFC's request, the IFAB had allowed for the safety of larger headgear to be tested during a two-year trial that began in 2012, and had proved successful.
"It was decided that female players can cover their heads to play," said FIFA's then secretary general, Jerome Valcke.
"Male players can play with head covers too. It will be a basic head cover and the colour should be the same as the team jersey."
The Under-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan last October marked the first time Muslim players wore headscarves during a FIFA event.
Muslim female athletes have achieved success in a variety of sports in recent years, including volleyball, tennis, football and fencing.
Morocco's International Olympic Committee member Nawal El Moutawakel won the inaugural women's 400 metres hurdles event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, thereby becoming the first female Muslim born on the continent of Africa to become an Olympic champion.
But Muslim women still appear to be under-represented in athletic arenas, from school and amateur sports to international competitions.
Among the reasons cited for this are cultural or familial pressures, a lack of suitable facilities and sports programmes, and bans on the hijab.
At the Rio 2016 Olympics, 14 Muslim women won medals, participating in a wide range of sports.
At those Games, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first Muslim athlete to wear a hijab while competing for the US.
After losing in the second round of the individual sabre competition, she became the first female Muslim-American athlete to win a medal at the Olympics as a member of the American line-up in the team sabre.
Muhammad had begun competing in fencing when she was 13-years-old, when her parents found it to be a suitable sport because of the ability to wear the hijab under the regulation head-guard during competition.
Kulsoom Abdullah, a Pakistani champion weightlifter, initially took up lifting to get strong, but there were other hurdles she would face when she began to compete. The US weightlifting organisation would not accept the long-sleeve shirts, trousers and hijab she wore in lieu of a singlet. When Abdullah issued a press release highlighting why she could not compete as a Muslim woman, the weightlifting federation allowed her to represent Pakistan in international competition in a hijab.
"It was not until the Sydney Olympics in 2000 that women first participated in weightlifting," she told Rolling Stone.
"There was also concern that the sport was going to change and people would want to petition to wear all kinds of things, especially compression suits that could give an advantage, such as in powerlifting."
Hajar Abulfazl, who captained the women's football team in Afghanistan, and who wears the hijab, added: "People are not afraid of hijab, only confused by it because they don't understand Islam represents a peaceful religion and that wearing hijab is not always mandatory.
"Many women choose to wear the hijab and get empowerment from it."
As for the belief that the hijab can impede performance on the field or cause injury, Abufazl believes otherwise.
"The hijab does not cause any problem or difficulties in competition," she said. "There are special designs, including FIFA-approved, that we wear in football and that is available in other sports. I have never experienced [injury] or know of anyone with injury from the hijab."
In March this year, Nike took a step into the Islamic clothing market by unveiling a hijab designed for female Muslim athletes.
The product, which has been in development for a year, was tested by athletes including Zahra Lari, a practising Muslim from Abu Dhabi who represents the United Arab Emirates in figure skating, where she was the first to compete in a hijab.
The pull-on hijab is made of light, stretchy fabric that includes tiny holes for breathability and an elongated back so it will not come untucked.
Lari, who is seeking a place at next year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, posted photos of herself wearing the hijab on her Instagram page.
"Can’t believe this is finally here," she wrote.
Nike has recently opened stores in the Middle East as it woos a multi-million dollar Islamic market.
Part of the Nike statement read: "This movement first permeated international consciousness in 2012, when a hijab wearing runner took the global stage in London."
That was a reference to Sarah Attar, a US-born runner with joint Saudi nationality who wore traditional Muslim clothing when she ran the 800m in the London Olympic Stadium. She covered up also in running the marathon at last year's Rio Games.
But, as activist and sports journalist Shireen Ahmed pointed out in an article in the Guardian, Nike is not the first mainstream sports brand to recognise the needs of Muslim sportswomen.
"At the 2012 London Olympics, Sarah Attar was one of two women to represent Saudi Arabia, in her own hijab," she said.
"In Rio four years later, Attar's uniform was designed by another Oregon-based company, Oiselle."
Ahmed also made the point that much of the publicity about Muhammad at the Rio Games was missing a fundamental point.
"The headlines that scream about the accomplishment of a 'Hijabi American' are unhelpful as they reduce an athlete to her outfit," Hassan wrote.
"It can be noted that we don't refer to any other athlete who observes a faith by a religious accessory, be it a necklace or tattoo featuring a cross, the Star of David, or a 'Karma' symbol."