24 October 2017

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Tuesday August 8, 2017

Kabul (BNA) In war-torn Afghanistan, where poverty and economics tear apart the country on a daily basis, young men are looking past historically played sports like soccer and cricket.
Instead, they are opting for the self-defense and encouragement they get from the burgeoning sport of mixed martial arts. Within Afghanistan, there was no place to fight until 2015, when Kakail Nuristani joined forces with his family members -- including brother Amanullah, CEO of TeaHouse Consulting -- to build a new venture, the Snow Leopard Fighting Championship. Housed in a custom-built gym with a professional fighting cage, the Snow Leopard Fighting Championship is Afghanistan's first private MMA tournament. It hosts the fights and supports eager fighters who pay a small membership fee to take daily classes. Afghan men are seriously into fitness, going to small gyms all over Kabul. Some fighters started training as kickboxers, wrestlers and traditional boxers, and now they get to use all of their talents to learn MMA. Seeing Afghans like Siyar Bahadurzada and Baz Mohammad Mubariz make their way into a multibillion-dollar global promotion like the UFC, fighters hope the sport can succeed locally and bring about change to a region where anything positive can make a major impact.

Monday August 7, 2017

Kabul (BNA) On Sunday, Afghanistan's national women's wheelchair basketball team won its first championship at the 4th annual Bali Cup International Tournament in Indonesia.
It played against women's teams from India, Indonesia and Thailand, beating Thailand 65-25 in the final match. It was the first time the team had ever played in an international tournament. "I'm glad to have won such an honor," said Nilofar Bayat, a team member, to Afghan news channel Tolo News. "The teams were powerful, but we got stronger after playing them and won." Jess Markt, the team's American coach, has been training the 11 members of the national team since 2012. While he couldn't be at the tournament in Indonesia because of a scheduling conflict — Afghan coaches Tahera Yosoufi and Wasiqullah Sediqi traveled with the women — he has watched the female players transform over the past five years. "They're one of the greatest sports stories that I've ever been associated with," says Markt, who trains wheelchair basketball teams for the International Committee of the Red Cross in countries including Afghanistan, South Sudan and India. "I'm incredibly proud of them."
When the Afghan team first started shooting hoops, players were worried about what their family and friends might think of them. It's hard enough being a woman in Afghanistan, explains Markt — and playing sports as a woman using a wheelchair was unheard of. That's why the women, who range in age from 17 to 30, initially requested the screens around the courts, he says. But after the women saw how much excitement there was around the men's wheelchair basketball competition in 2013, they told Markt: "We want people to see us play. Take down the screens." The women's wheelchair basketball program in Afghanistan, supported by the ICRC, has exploded in popularity, says Markt. The ICRC gets them practice space, builds courts, provides equipment and even covers taxi fares for players who need a ride to games. Today, there are 120 women wheelchair basketball players in Afghanistan. Many of them are not able to use their limbs as a result of polio, birth defects or war-related injuries. "Other disabled girls see the women doing incredible things and say 'I wanna be like them'," says Markt.
"The national team has become role models to girls around the country." Markt is heading back to Afghanistan in October to organize a national tournament for men and women. He hopes to take the women's team to Thailand for another tournament. The women's national team was previously in Thailand in April for a wheelchair basketball training camp. It was the players' first time traveling internationally and competing against women outside of their country. It was also the first time they had ever seen a beach. They got to the open water as fast as they could, Markt recalled. "Fully clothed, in their headscarves and beautiful Afghan clothing," he says. "It was an incredible sight." By the time they got to Indonesia this past week, the women felt like "beach veterans," Markt jokes. "We've done this before, it's no big deal," the players said, as they dipped into Bali's crystal blue waters.

Sunday August 6, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Boys cycling competitions with participation of 21 cyclists has started in Kabul city today.
Abdul Sadeq Sadeqi head of Cycling Federation told BNA reporter, including Kabul’s cyclists 21 athletes has been participated in the competitions.
The cyclists will continue their contest in two phases, first started from Kabul to Charikar city the provincial capital of Parwan and second phase from Charikar city to Safed Shir region of Panjshir province, Sadeqi added.
The aim of the competitions are introducing top cyclists and chosen them to Afghanistan National Cycling Team, Sadeqi concluded.

Thursday August 3, 2017

Kabul (BNA) After fleeing her native Afghanistan, Nadim found a new life in Denmark where it was acceptable for women to play football in public.
Now she hopes to pay back her adopted nation as they take on Germany in a bid to recreate the famous Euro 1992 upset. Nadia Nadim fled with her family to Denmark where she forged a career in women’s football that has taken her to the US Getty Like many of the women playing in the European Championships Nadia Nadim was introduced to football by her father, who brought home a ball when she was a little girl. The rest of her story, however, is unique, a tale of tragedy and triumph even Hollywood might balk at. Nadim will play for Denmark tonight in the quarter-finals of Euro 2017, against holders Germany in Rotterdam. It is the biggest match of her life, but there is no danger of her losing perspective. Denmark is Nadim’s adopted country. One of five sisters she was born and grew up in Afghanistan where her father, Rabani, was a general in the Afghan Army. When she was 10 the Taliban, who controlled the country, summoned her father to a meeting.
He never returned. It was six months before her mother, Hamida, discovered he had been taken into the desert and executed. Life for a family of six women was all-but impossible under a regime in which unaccompanied females were tightly restricted. The girls were unable to go to school, Hamida unable to work. Even play was curtailed. Nadim had only kicked the ball around inside her garden, to play in public was forbidden. She later said she never saw any females playing any sports, adding that, had she stayed she could well have been killed herself for being too independent-minded to conform to such a repressive society. The family put their savings into escape, being trafficked to Europe via Pakistan and, with forged passports, a flight to Italy. There they were put on a truck expecting to be taken to London, where Hamida had relatives. Several days later the bus stopped, the occupants turfed out. It was not what they expected. They asked a passer-by and found they had been dumped in rural Denmark.
Nadim signed for Portland Thorns where she regularly plays in front of more than 15,000 fans (Getty) The family were sent to a refugee center. There, for the first time, Nadim began to play football in public, with other children, and gradually became accustomed to a society where a girl playing football was acceptable. She began to train at a nearby club. The family were given leave to remain and moved to an apartment. This was some distance from the club but when her mother, working several jobs to support the family, said they could not afford to travel to training the club bought bus passes. With formal coaching Nadim flourished, breaking into senior football, then, after attaining Danish citizenship, the national team. She became the first naturalized Dane of either gender, to win a cap. Denmark will hope to replicate the men’s famous victory over Germany at Euro 92 (Getty) She now plays for Portland Thorns, the biggest club in the US whose gates average 15,000, a large attendance in women’s football. Tonight she will seek to combine with Permille Harder, of Frauen Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg, and upset a German team that has won the last six Euros.
In Denmark the talk is of a shock to match that in the men’s Euro 1992 when John Jensen’s goal prompted the famous underdog victory over Germany. At 29 it could be Nadim’s last shot at football glory, but for her football has always been about enjoyment and her real ambitions lie beyond the game. She is deep into a medical degree at Aarhus University in Denmark and wants to work in reconstructive surgery. This will be the branch that repairs people’s faces after injury, not the more lucrative field that keeps celebs looking unfeasibly young. And it will be in Denmark, the country she feels gave her a new life, and she will proudly represent tonight.

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