Monday, August 16, 2010

Women Boxers in Afghanistan

The build-up to the London Olympics is already well under way. One of the biggest excitements for me will bet  watching women compete in the amateur boxing section. Hard to believe they justified keeping women out of that for so long, but everything comes to those who wait.

One gym preparing for this is in Kabul, Afghanistan. A group of women who started training under an NGO-sponsored programme in 2007, just having fun and learning to get fit, are now the official Afghan Women's Boxing team. Rahmi pictured above and a team-mate will compete in the AIBA qualifiers on September 6th. There have been quite a few stories about them in the press lately, no doubt because seeing women boxing makes a better story than looking at other ways in which some Afghan women are still struggling to find their path. One BBC journalist described the gym as a visible sign of the progress he had been hoping to find, while one of the boxers said in an Irish Times interview : "Girls in Afghanistan shouldn’t be afraid of anything. Our country needs them."

Looking forward to meeting more boxers as the Olympics draw closer, like Mary Kom. 

Sadaf Rahimi, Afghan Women's Boxing Team pic Majid Saeedi


Emmet Ryan said...

Take 2 at posting this, the internet didn't like my first go.

Compared to a lot of sports which are still on the outside looking in, Women's Boxing's run to becoming a full Olympic Sport has been fairly short.

The IOC under Juan Antonio Samaranch was hardly an organisation that like Boxing with either gender but even post-Samaranch there lay the slight obstacle that Women's Amateur Boxing was, by IOC standards (and for all of the corruption these are actually quite strict and well adhered to) not on the radar until 2001. That was when the first World Championships were held, which was a rather important bench-mark for the IOC.

Essentially that was the first point at which the IOC would have had reason to give due attention. From there the run to full Olympic status has, thankfully, been relatively short.

niamh said...

@ Emmet - thanks for posting in such detail. Sorry for the delay in replying to you! It has been short you say; it's all in the timing. It took Judo about 30 years to get women competing. So the big question is when can men take part in the Synchronised Swimming?

Emmet Ryan said...

I would make a joke about solo synchronised swimming but sadly I'm too much of a nerd as I'm already aware the synchronisation is with the music rather than the other swimmers.