Nike is launching a hijab for female Muslim athletes. The Nike Pro Hijab was inspired by Sarah Attar, a Saudi Arabian runner who competed at London 2012.

Acknowledging the growing number of Muslim women participating in sport around the world, the US athletic shoes and apparel giant will launch the hijab in Spring 2018.

A Nike statement said: "The Nike Pro Hijab may have been more than a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back, to an ongoing cultural shift that has seen more women than ever embracing sport.

"This movement first permeated international consciousness in 2012, when a hijab runner took the global stage in London."

The US-Saudi runner, Attar, participated for the kingdom in the 800m in London and finished her two laps as the 39th fastest of 40 finishers.

At Rio 2016, Attar entered the marathon again and finished 132nd fastest out of 133 finishers. Her compatriot Kariman Abuljadaye appeared in the 100m at Rio, also wearing a hijab.

"The Nike Pro Hijab was designed as a direct result of our athletes telling us they needed this product to perform better, and we hope that it will help athletes around the world do just that," Global Nike spokesperson Megan Saalfeld told Al Arabiya English.

Emirati Olympic weightlifter Amna Al Haddad and her countrywoman ice skater Zahra Lari are among the athletes Nike consulted while testing the Pro Hijab. The firm also discussed the garment with religious and community leaders to "ensure the design met cultural requirements".

Saalfeld said: "We recognize that around the world there are barriers for many people to access sport, and some of these barriers are unique to women and girls. We want to help break down these barriers, and encourage and enable more women to be pioneers in sport."