Monday, 15 July, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Yousofi to represent stolen dreams of Afghan women at Olympics

Published : Wednesday, 10 July, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 224

Yousofi to represent stolen dreams of Afghan women at Olympics

Yousofi to represent stolen dreams of Afghan women at Olympics

SYDNEY, JULY 9: Kimia Yousofi says she will be representing "the stolen dreams and aspirations" of all Afghan women after being unveiled Tuesday as one of the nations six-person team for the Paris Olympics.

The 100m sprinter was Afghanistans flag-bearer at the Tokyo Games three years ago, but fled her home country to neighbouring Iran to escape persecution when the Taliban returned to power in August 2021.

She was one of five athletes and administrators, plus families, with ties to the Olympic movement who received safe passage into Australia a year later.

"Its an honour to represent the girls of my homeland once again. Girls and women who have been deprived of basic rights, including education, which is the most important one," the 28-year-old said via the Australian Olympic Committee.

"I represent the stolen dreams and aspirations of these women. Those who don have the authority to make decisions as free human beings.

"They don even have the permission to enter a park.

"Im deeply grateful to all those who have stood by me on this journey and made this possible," she added.

A gender-balanced team of three men and three women will represent Afghanistan in Paris later this month in a symbolic move for the first summer Olympics since the Taliban took over in Kabul.

The women will compete in athletics and cycling while their male counterparts will feature in athletics, swimming and judo.

They were selected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in consultation with Afghanistans largely exiled national Olympic committee.

All of them, except the judoka, are based outside Afghanistan with the team competing under the black, red and green flag and anthem of the Western-backed former republic, which was ousted by the Taliban.

The IOC has refused to accredit any officials from the Taliban, who on Monday said they do not recognise Yousofi or her two female colleagues.

"Only three athletes are representing Afghanistan," said Atal Mashwani, the spokesman of the Taliban governments sports directorate, referring to the male competitors.

"Currently, in Afghanistan girls sports have been stopped. When girls sport isn practised, how can they go on the national team?" he told AFP.    —AFP

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