BEIJING: Kabul’s Kung Fu women’s team paid a visit to the Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan province on Monday.
The nine-member Afghan team visited the temple which is considered the cradle of the Chinese martial arts. They experienced authentic Chinese Kung Fu.
“I’m so happy to have been given the opportunity to come here with some and learn authentic Kung Fu,” Afghan martial arts practitioner Zahra Olyatoo said.
“When I came to the temple I saw the rich history which goes back 1,500 years,” Olyatoo said.
“I’m so happy because I made my team’s dream come true,’ said coach of Afghan team Husain Sadiqi.
Sadiqi went on to say: “In our society women are not afforded the same opportunities that men are given,” adding, “I want to be the voice for these girls so they can empower themselves.”
Previously, a group of Afghan girls practice the flowing movements of Wushu, a sport developed from ancient Chinese Kung Fu martial arts, stretching and bending and slashing the air with bright swords.
In a country where women’s sport is severely restricted, the Shaolin Wushu club in a part of Kabul that is home to the capital’s Hazara ethnic community, is a rare exception.
Sima Azimi, 20, an Afghan girl led a practice session in her country, says Wushu teaches self-defence, but just as important, “it’s really effective for body and soul”.
She learned the sport in Iran, where she won a gold and bronze medal in competition, and she has been teaching in Kabul for about a year, encouraged by her father, with whom she trains at the club’s gym.
“I am working with Afghan girls to strengthen their abilities and I love to see Afghan girls improve the way other girls have improved in the world,” she said.
“My ambition is to see my students take part in international matches and win medals for their country.”