Changing the cultural landscape through sport

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With 2012 being an Olympic year, Afghanistan has begun their preparations for the upcoming games led by the vigor and intensity of their Olympic Boss, ZAHIR AGHBAR.  With 4 athletes already qualified in Taekwando and Athletics, Aghbar is looking forward to increase the Afghan Olympic delegation in sports such as wrestling.

In the video above, I was struck by Aghbar's desire to create an all-women facility at the National Stadium, the same location of a Taliban murder site.  His intent to change the cultural landscape through health and sport promotion is admirable.  He views that Afghan women, many of whom die due to poor nutrition and malaise during pregnancy, need more exercise and better nutrition in order to increase their survival rates.  

In a world turned upside down because of conflict, this man's quest is to transform a society to one that takes its part in the global community.  Aghbar looks to the social change in the United States, with the election of President Obama, as an example of possible Afghan unity.  With the Afghan society long been hampered by tribal and ethnic divisions, this Olympic Boss, wishes for a country, which is no longer steeped in prejudice and hatred.  He believes that a successful outing in the Olympics, led by previous Olympic Bronze Medalist Rohullah Nikpai, will eventually bear the society he desires.

Aghbar encourages other Afghan athletes to strive for excellence knowing that the international community is on their side.  In 2000, the country was banned from the Olympic Games due to the Taliban's abysmal treatment of women.  Afghanistan has since claimed positive Olympic standing in 2004, when the Taliban were ousted from government leadership.  Sadly, while the condition of Afghan women have improved a bit since then, there were still negative sentiments regarding women in competition as evidenced with what had happened to Mehboba Ahdyar in the 2008 Beijing Games.  With a female runner, already qualified to compete in London, this Olympic Boss aims to inspire more Afghan youths to participate in sports and dream golden dreams for Afghanistan.

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About the author


A multilingual freelance writer/translator with native fluency of English, Japanese, French, and Tagalog. After graduating with a double Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Philosophy, Hannah decided to devote her time to traveling, learning languages, and writing.

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