First jockey to race in a hijab, Peckham teenager Khadijah Mellah brings fresh blood to racing and will make history tomorrow
Educated at Sydenham High School and a member of the Ebony Horse Club – which describes itself as “transforming young lives through horses in south London’s most disadvantaged communities” – in Brixton, 18-year-old Khadijah Mellah is an inspirational young lady who first sat on a racehorse in April.
Tomorrow, Mellah will ride in the Magnolia Cup charity race at Goodwood against the likes of the Olympian Victoria Pendleton and tomorrow this daughter of a handyman will become the first jockey to wear a hijab in a race in Britain.
Also “quite into motorbikes,” Mellah’s story is to be made into a documentary film titled Riding A Dream by the sports broadcaster Oli Bell. That will be screened in the autumn and by then she is expected to go to university to study mechanical engineering.
Of her reasoning for getting into racing, this role model told The Sun:
“There’s quite a stereotype about Muslim girls and them ‘not being able to follow their sporting passions and dreams.’ I want to be a role model to anyone who wants to do something that they wouldn’t initially believe was in their comfort zone and allow people to follow their aspirations and dreams.”
“It’s crazy to think of my journey over the last couple of months but a big part of my life has been proving people wrong. There are definitely a fair few guys out there who would struggle to do what I am doing and I am thrilled that I am part of shift in social understanding of what women can achieve and what they can be good at.”
We join all those wishing this delightful achiever the very best of British.