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Quite prominent among the changes taking place in Afghanistan is the emergence of more women in the sports arena.
One native of the country, a former war refugee, has returned to her homeland to lead its fledgling Olympic Taekwondo Team. Tamara Aqrabawe brings us the story of this tough trainer and her determined disciples.
More than 20 Afghan women from across the war-torn country are spending all of their spare time training for the National Taekwondo Olympic Team. Some of them, who are refugees, started the self-defense sport outside Afghanistan, and brought their skills and talent to their new home.
Salma Hussaini, Taekwondo Trainer, said, "I trained in Iran when I was a war refugee. I returned home 6 years ago, and took part in the South Asian Taekwondo Championship, and won a medal. The Olympic Committee saw that Afghan women can compete and win medals, so they asked me to establish the National Women's Taekwondo Team."
Over the last 6 years, the Women's Taekwondo Team has gained over 5 medals in international championships. The Afghan women have been persistent to prove their ability of winning medals is equal to men.
Samera Popal, Taekwondo Competitor, said, "My health has been better since I started getting involved in taekwondo. I am rarely sick now, and I am more focused on my school lessons too. I was nutty girl but I am very quiet and relaxed."
The self control and patience are values that women taekwondo fighters learn every day. Those values are great pushing power for them to carry on being involved in the sport they love and dream about being world champions in the future.