Bamiyan Hosts the First Ski Tournament Without Female Athletes
The National Ski Federation organized its first training session among 50 athletes from Kabul, Ghazni, and Bamiyan provinces. The three-day ski competitions were organized on Friday in the Qarghnatoo area of central Bamiyan.
Dawood Kargar, head of the Ski Federation, said the competition was launched to evaluate athletes for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and the third round of the Asian Ski Championships in Lebanon. “We tested the boys today, and it was a preliminary exercise,” he added.
In the past few years, female athletes also participated in winter festivals, but this year, Afghanistan’s General Directorate of Physical Education & Sports did not allow them to participate. Shah Agha Rezaei, a ski instructor and participant from Bamiyan, said that a number of female athletes had announced their preparedness to participate in the competition, but were not allowed to participate. Rezaei added that the athletes are well prepared, hoping to win medals in the upcoming competitions. The head of the ski federation also said that in a recent meeting with high-ranking Taliban officials, they did not allow female athletes to participate in the competitions while expressing their support for the athletes and saying that it was still too early to decide on the presence of girls.
Taliban governor’s spokesman for Bamyan, Sabur Saighani, also confirmed that girls were not allowed to take part in the competition. According to Saighani, the female skiers had not coordinated in advance and were not allowed to do so. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and the evacuation of vulnerable groups began, some female athletes and skiers also left the country. However, skiers complained about the lack of equipment in their training session. They emphasized that due to the lack of attention, the interest in skiing is decreasing.
Ahmad Milad Niazi, an athlete from Ghazni province who competed, said skiing was a good sport, but no one supported it. Niazi said that they use their personal equipment in training and do not have the necessary equipment to participate in the games. A situation that he believes has demotivated athletes.
Abdullah Sarhadi, the Taliban governor for Bamiyan, said at the start of the tournament that they were prepared to take responsibility for the security of the games and to cooperate with the athletes in any way.
This competition is being held while the city of Bamiyan has previously witnessed various winter sports competitions with the participation of domestic and foreign athletes. But this year the competition has faded and fewer athletes participated.