Ali Reza Asahi, the Afghan muscleman, stepped onto the stage and became the champion in the World Bodybuilding Championships held in South Korea on Thursday.
Asahi competed in the 90-kilogram weight category and the over-40 age group, securing the gold medal as the top athlete in this weight class.
Asahi made history as the first representative of Afghanistan in these competitions, facing off against his opponents.
On the day after tomorrow, on Sunday, Mohammad Ayub Azimi and Asahi will also take the stage in the 100-kilogram and 90-kilogram weight categories.
Ali Reza Asahi, the Afghan muscleman and silver medalist from the 2023 South Asian Championships in the Maldives, has proven himself once again on the world stage.
Despite the evident talent and potential within the Afghan sporting community, the Taliban’s stringent regulations on bodybuilders, including requirements to cover their bodies during training and competitions, cast a shadow of uncertainty over the future of sports in the country.
Meanwhile, the resurgence of the Taliban has prompted an exodus of athletes and sports officials, reminiscent of the bleak period during their previous rule from 1996 to 2001 when sports, music, and movies were forbidden.
The current restrictions on bodybuilding, a sport that thrived in Afghanistan in the post-Taliban era, have cast a pall over its once-promising future.