October 20, 2016: Female athletes kicked off the fall season of the wheelchair basketball league in the Afghan capital in October. The three-day basketball tournament was organised by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) held in Kabul on Thursday. Some 180 Afghan women played in the wheelchair basketball league.
The tournament was organised between four teams from Herat, Balkh and Kabul. The event was a huge success, drawing large crowds of supporters to cheer on the players, although, most of the players had to give up their hijabs while speeding around the court.
In the final, Kabul took an early lead but in the end, it has lost the game to the Balkh province team.
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In 2015, the International Committee of the Red Cross has brought Jess Markt to Gaza to train local referees and coaches. Now, he is back to train players and organise tournaments between wheelchair teams.
According to the head of the ICRC orthopaedic program in Afghanistan Alberto Cairo, the best players from the tournament from the western city of Herat will be selected for the National team.
Aziza Ahmadi, a 23-year-old athlete has a paralysed left foot from the mortar attack on the Kabul when the shrapnel hit her home 18 years ago. Now, she is hoping to get selected for the national team. “My dream is to go to play in European countries like Italy, Germany and France,” she said.
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Kamila Rahimi, a 19-year-old player from Balkh team, scored 5 goals for her team. She lost her ability to walk when she was a toddler, owing to a disease. But when she’s in court, she forgets everything and none of it matters.
“I feel very happy to be playing basketball because I like the company of my teammates. When I laugh, they laugh with me, when I cry, they cry with me,” she said.
– by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53