Saturday, March 2, 2024

Persistent closure of Sports Clubs in Afghanistan sparks concern among women and girls

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmati
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

In Afghanistan, women and girls are banned from participating in sports and going to sports clubs, negatively affecting their physical and mental well-being.

Reports indicate that the Taliban administration has issued over 50 written orders and commands in the past two years, limiting women’s freedom to work, study, engage in sports, or enjoy leisure activities.

Last year, the current regime issued a decree prohibiting the presence of girls and women in sports clubs, depriving thousands of girls for whom sports was a part of life from this activity.

One female coach at a sports club in Kabul, speaking to Khaama Press News Agency, said that in the past year, alongside financial difficulties and lack of financial independence, she has also experienced “isolation” from a mental perspective.

Ms Mursal Mohammadi, a coach at Kabul sports clubs for six years, told Khaama Press that sports, especially for women in Afghanistan, have numerous benefits, as she believes that exercising leads to the release of happiness hormones and makes individuals happier.

She adds that in the past, many women came to sports clubs for weight control and to address issues like back pain, knee pain, and joint problems that specialists recommended exercise for. She used to train many women.

According to her, the closure of sports clubs for women has not only harmed many women but has also created challenges for her, with the most significant being “financial difficulties” and improper mental conditions. This has led her to experience a state of “isolation and seclusion.”

She, who is currently idle, emphasizes that she eagerly awaits the club reopening day and night.

Ms Mohammadi, while pointing out that the closure of sports clubs for women has had significant adverse effects, adds: “Even though women did not have suitable mental conditions in the past, now, after the closure of sports clubs, I know women who are thinking of suicide due to economic hardship and unemployment.”

Meanwhile, 26-year-old Karishma, who used to go to a Kabul sports club for weight control, says in an interview with Khaama Press that “after the arrival of the Taliban administration, sports clubs for women were closed, and not being able to go to the club for weight control has caused problems for me.”

She adds that exercising requires skill, and in the absence of a gym and a coach, she cannot exercise regularly. Irregular exercises, which she has been doing for two months without a coach’s guidance, have exacerbated her problems.

Karishma emphasizes that the lack of access to women-only gyms, irregular exercise, and physical problems have also confronted her with mental issues.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice of the Taliban declared the prohibition of women’s presence in public baths, sports clubs, and public places last year through an oral order, stating that “people are disregarding gender segregation orders, and women do not have the necessary hijab or covering.”

This is happening despite doctors and sports club trainers emphasizing the importance of reopening sports clubs for women, stating that regular exercise is a choice and a fundamental right that brings about physical and mental health for individuals.

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