Saturday, August 21, 2021
“They beg for their lives”
Great concern for Afghanistan’s women athletes
Friba Rezayee made Afghan sports history when she became the country’s first female Olympian in 2004. Now the judoka and suffragette has to watch from a distance as her country falls back to the Taliban. With dire consequences, not only but also for their successors.
The Afghan Olympic pioneer Friba Rezayee is also very concerned about female athletes in her home country. “After the Taliban settle in and establish their government, they will persecute those who spoke out against them. Women who went to school, women who went to university and women who played sports,” said Rezayee, now living in Canada, who started judo as the first woman for Afghanistan at the 2004 games in Athens, in an interview with CNN.
The founder of the organization “Women Leaders of Tomorrow”, which campaigns for the rights of women in Afghanistan, is in constant contact with women who fear for their lives after the Taliban came to power. “They also send me messages and plead for their lives and their safety. All these human rights and women’s rights activists want to flee the country,” reported the 35-year-old. “Recently the Afghan women athletes were visiting the dojo (judo training hall). They were holding each other’s hands. They were hugging each other. They were also kissing the mats because it was the last time they saw them and it was the last Day of her freedom. ”
Rezayee is also working on a project to send Afghan judoka to the 2024 Summer Games in Paris and therefore appealed to international sports federations to support Afghanistan’s athletes. Despite the traumatic news and TV images, Rezayee does not give up hope. “My message to Afghan women in Afghanistan is stay strong. This is a nightmare, but nightmares don’t last very long,” she said. “We will get through this. If nothing else is left, we will become a resistance group. We will fight for our rights no matter what.”