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Terrorism no barrier for Afghans pursuing sporting dreams

In a Taekwondo event held in Dehradun, Afghan team won 20 gold medals in different age groups

dehradun Updated: Dec 23, 2017 20:37 IST
Anupam Trivedi 
Anupam Trivedi 
Hindustan Times
Afghans,sporting dreams,20 gold medals
Nargis (14) is part of the 45-member Afghan contingent that took part in the international taekwondo meet held in Doon last week.(HT Photo)

Afghan teen Nargis adjusts her head scarf and listens patiently to the instruction of her Taekwondo coach before a bout. The 14-year-old girl is a part of the 45-member Afghan contingent that participated in the international championship held here last week.

Nargis, who speaks a little bit of Hindi and broken English, is into Korean martial art for last five years in Afghanistan. The war torn country is trying to stand on its own feet. But the hardship has rather toughened the resolve of young minds to pursue sports.

“I come from an extended family of 10 members but thankfully my lawyer father is very supportive. Girls usually are less into sports but the number is growing,” Nargis tells Hindustan Times.

In the event held in Dehradun, the Afghan team won 20 gold medals in different age groups. Taekwondo is a rage in Afghanistan. Two-time Olympic bronze medalist Rohullah Nikpai who is a role model for the young Afghans.

Md Firdoues Bakshi, 15, has been sparring from the age of five. So far, he was won 19 gold in various tournaments. His friends Nesar Ahmad (15) and Aamir Khan (15) are also promising players. “I devote 5-6 hours for Taekwondo. “We have been hearing bomb explosions ever since our birth. It is nothing usual for us and I want to keep focusing on the game,” Firdoues says.

Abdul Mateen Khadem, the head of the Afghan contingent, is not satisfied with the state of sports in his country. Khadem says there is virtually no support from the government for sportsmen. Even the team to India came on its own resources, he says.

Cricket is the third most popular sports in Afghanistan, behind football and ‘Buzkashi’, a local sport played on horseback. “Boxing, martial arts, football and even cricket are some of the sports where we can excel but for that our country needs immense government support - something , which is lacking,” the Afghan contingent head asserts.

First Published: Dec 23, 2017 20:37 IST