Tuesday February 7, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Gyms have grown popular in Afghanistan's capital in recent years, but the country's conservative culture meant that women could not use them with men.
One female entrepreneur saw that as an opportunity, and five years ago opened Ladies World, a women-only exercise facility with modern equipment, a sauna, swimming pool, beauty salon and area for physiotherapy. Five years later, Shabnam Nazari says her business is thriving and she is looking into opening several branches in other parts of the capital. "Our initiative may come across as something unusual to some people in Afghanistan, but those who understand where I am coming from appreciate our efforts," Nazari told VOA. "They encourage us to expand our business in other areas of Kabul city, as well." Nazari got interested in exercise while living in Russia and Uzbekistan. When she returned to Afghanistan, she started her business, but it was difficult at first. Cultural values and the novelty of a women-only gym meant she had to work hard on the marketing, educating women and their families about the benefits of exercise. Now, things have changed for her and her center. Zuhal, who like many Afghans go by one name, is a regular member. She told VOA that she joined the facility six months ago and is quite grateful. "Those who work out here are very happy with the initiative. This facility has made it possible for women to get out of their houses and come here to exercise," Zuhal said. "Now we can pay better attention to our health and well-being."
Struggle to operate
Even after five years in business, Nazari feels social pressure about her work from more conservative friends and relatives. But she remains committed to the business. "It is inevitable for women to run into problems when they decide to break with tradition and get out of the house to work," Nazari said. "But I believe that we have to fight the emerging problems for the development of women." Women in Afghanistan remain subject to all kinds of restrictions and limitations on their movement, but Ladies World is one place that provides an environment for them to meet outside their homes. The center has flexibility in its operating hours to accommodate women who cannot work out on a set schedule because of competing family priorities. FILE - Afghanistan's Tahmina Kohistani competes in a women's 100-meter heat during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Aug. 3, 2012.
Limits for women
Female participation in sports remains very limited in Afghanistan, even though the country sends female competitors to national and international sports events. Tahmina Kohistani became an icon, representing Afghanistan in the 2012 London Olympics. She was the only female athlete from Afghanistan and competed in the 100-meter sprint. In an op-ed that she wrote for the Guardian at the time, she said her goal was to tell the world that Afghan women could be as competitive as others. "I am here to begin a new era for the women of Afghanistan to show people that we can do the same things that people from other countries can do. There is no difference between us," Tahmina wrote in her piece.
Tuesday February 7, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Afghanistan development cricket team after performance five 50-over matches with Zimbabwe A cricket team to be returned home today.
Farid Hotak spokesman of Afghanistan cricket board told BNA reporter, Afghanistan development cricket team became success in the 4 matches of this tournament and lost one of the match against Zimbabwe A cricket team.
In the fifth match of the competition Zimbabwe A started bowling and with losing 8 wicket targeted 288 runs in 50 overs to Afghanistan development cricket team, but our cricket team couldn’t complete the chosen target and accept his failure in the match, Hotak added.
It is mentionable that Afghanistan development cricket team with defeating Zimbabwe A cricket team in first three matches has obtained the cup of the tournament.
Monday, February 06, 2017
Kabul (BNA) The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has roped in former West Indies coach Phil Simmons as consultant for the next three series, against Zimbabwe, Ireland and West Indies.
According to the ACB, he will assist head coach Lalchand Rajput on technical issues.
Afghanistan's tour of Zimbabwe starts on February 16 in Harare and includes five ODIs, before they host Ireland in Greater Noida, India, in March. Afghanistan are scheduled to visit the Caribbean in June.
"He will be working with the team as a consulting coach," ACB chief executive officer Shafiq Stanikzai told. "His expertise will greatly favour us, as he has coached all three teams we are playing against. His appointment is a valuable step in our players' road to development."
Simmons, 53, was removed last September by the WICB, just six months after coaching West Indies to the World T20 title, due to "differences in culture and strategic approach". He had a successful stint with Ireland before that; in his eight years in charge of the team, they won 11 trophies and qualified for every major ICC event. In the mid-2000s, he had worked with Zimbabwe. An all-rounder, Simmons had played 26 Tests and 143 ODIs for West Indies between 1987 and 1999.
After he was relieved of the West Indies coaching job, Simmons was appointed head coach of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots for the 2017 edition of the Caribbean Premier League. He was recently in the UAE for the duration of the Desert T20 Challenge, which Afghanistan won after defeating Ireland by 10 wickets in the final. It is understood that Simmons was attending the tournament on behalf of the ICC Development Programme, offering his services as a coaching consultant to each of the eight Associate teams present.
Saturday February 4, 2017
Kabul (BNA) On a snowy mountaintop to the west of Kabul, a group of Afghan girls practice the flowing movements of Wushu, a sport developed from ancient Chinese kung fu martial arts, stretching and bending and slashing the air with bright swords.
In a country where women’s sport is severely restricted, the Shaolin Wushu club in a part of Kabul that is home to the capital’s Hazara ethnic community, is a rare exception. Sima Azimi, the 20-year-old leading the practice session, says Wushu teaches self-defense, but just as important, “it’s really effective for body and soul”. She learned the sport in Iran, where she won a gold and bronze medal in competition, and she has been teaching in Kabul for about a year, encouraged by her father, with whom she trains at the club’s gym. “I am working with Afghan girls to strengthen their abilities and I love to see Afghan girls improve the way other girls have improved in the world,” she said. “My ambition is to see my students take part in international matches and win medals for their country.” Martial arts of all kinds are popular in Afghanistan, but it is a notoriously hard country for women and the girls of the Shaolin Wushu club face regular harassment and abuse in addition to the normal dangers of life in Kabul.
“The biggest challenge we faced is insecurity,” said 18-year-old Zahra Timori. “Most of the time, we can’t go to the club due to insecurity.” Her friend Shakila Muradi said she hoped that sport could help create a more peaceful climate in Afghanistan in defiance of the daily reality the girls face. “There are many people harassing us but we ignore them and follow our goals,” she said. When possible, training goes on in a gym dominated by a poster of Hussain Sadiqi, a Hazara martial arts champion who fled to Australia in 1999 and later worked as a film stuntman. So far, all the girls in the club are Hazara, a Persian-speaking, mainly Shi’ite group who have faced a series of attacks claimed by ISIS militants over the past year. Their generally more liberal social traditions give the girls more room to move outside the home and practise sports but Sima’s father, Rahmatullah Azimi says he hopes to see girls from other ethnic groups join in as well.