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Ahadgar winning the women’s race


Series on Olympic Scholarship Holders Beijing 2008: today Mahbooba Ahadgar
Although Afghanistan has been competing regularly in the Olympic Games since 1936, it was only in 2004, with Friba Razayee and Robina Muqim Yaarit, that female competitors first took part. Mahbooba Ahadgar is pleased to ensure that this encouraging development becomes a trend when she runs in the Olympic 800 and 1500 metres events in Beijing this summer.

Now 23, Ahadgar began in road races in 2004, moving to the track two years later. In 2007 she broke the Afghan record at both 800 and 1500m. “Achieving this for both events gave me some ‘oomph’ to move forward in athletics and to bring some glory to myself and to my country,” she said. “Being a Muslim woman we are restricted to a certain lifestyle which doesn’t [traditionally] allow us to participate actively in sports.”

High performance centre
Since the start of this year, thanks to the Olympic Solidarity scholarship programme, Ahadgar has had the opportunity to train at the high performance centre in Kuala Lumpur, benefiting from the experience of qualified IAAF coaches and meeting new friends and sparring partners from all over Asia. “I want to remain the record holder for my country in my selected events,” she said. “To achieve that, I need high performance training with good facilities.”

Nine siblings
Ahadgar is one of nine siblings. Her father works as a carpenter and her mother is a housewife. “Apart from running, I just help out at home due to our family background, which requires me to take care of the house properly, as a woman,” she says, adding: “I need to change this concept. and I presume my country will accept and adhere to it.”

Active lifestyle
“I like an active lifestyle, and athletics is a sport in which you certainly need to be actively involved. I’m the model for my country, being a woman in a typical Muslim nation. I’m very proud to say that I will be participating in the Olympic Games. By virtue of these opportunities, many women from my country are participating in many sports, and this will help to develop a better managed sports country.”


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