Turrell takes NZ volleyball team to Iran

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

In 2014, a British Iranian woman was jailed for attending a men's volleyball match in Iran. This year, one of NZ's leading female coaches, Leanne Turrell, will take the NZ men's youth team to Iran to take on the world. But she must adhere to the country's protocols regarding women.

Leanne Turrell has been told she must only wear scarves, flared pants and dresses while she's in Iran.

Iran observes the Islamic dress code, which calls for women to cover their hair, neck, and arms. Women must cover their heads and hair with a hijab or a loose scarf.

Turrell has been coaching the NZ men's youth team who will compete at the Asia Pacific Male Youth Volleyball competition.

She says, "Most of the teams are professional, they get paid to attend the clubs or schools. These boys do fundraising, they're out doing the Bunnings BBQ."

Turrell has traveled extensively, over 20 countries and lived in four, working, coaching and raising a family so adhering to the cultural protocols of other countries is nothing new.

Turrell says, "The fact that I can do it with a team representing our country across other cultures is amazing. I'm just grateful."

The volleyball competition starts on June 29 in Tabriz, Iran.