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Afghanistan to send 17 female athletes to Asian Games in China

September 6, 2023 at 1:38 pm

This aerial photo taken on March 26, 2019 shows different coloured flowers used to create the logo of the 19th Asian Games near the under-construction venues in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. – Hangzhou will host the Asian Games in 2022 [STR/AFP via Getty Images]

Afghanistan’s Olympic committee said it will send 17 female athletes to compete in three sports at the Asian Games in China later this month, Reuters reported.

Female sport in Afghanistan has been crushed since the Taliban took over from a Western-backed government in August 2021, causing many prominent women to flee the country.

The Taliban went on to drastically limit women’s freedoms and rights, including banning women and girls from the country’s education system, in what the UN has said could amount to a crime against humanity.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also warned Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers in December that allowing women and young girls safe access to sport was a condition for the country’s representation at the 2024 Paris Games.

“Afghanistan will shine brightly as it proudly boasts the highest number of female athletes ever to grace the Asian Games stage,” Afghanistan’s NOC said in a statement yesterday.

“NOC Afghanistan will field a female group sports team comprising a total of 17 phenomenal women athletes and dedicated team officials across three disciplines: athletics, cycling and volleyball.”

The Afghan NOC added that three scholarships had been awarded to female athletes, “paving the way for their remarkable journeys towards the illustrious Paris 2024 Olympics”.

The Asian Games in Hangzhou will be held from 23 September to 8 October.

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