I am fighting for all Afghan women: Boxer Sadia Bromand
Sadia Bromand fled Afghanistan when the Taliban returned to power. At the Women's Boxing World Championships, she is fighting for all Afghan women.
New Delhi: Boxing is a combat sport and boxers are thought of as fighters inside the ring, but there is often quite a lot of fight that goes outside the ring also. One such fight is being fought by the only Afghani boxer at the ongoing Boxing World Championships in New Delhi - Sadia Bromand.
Women in Afghanistan have been in plight since the Taliban takeover in 2021. The hardline Islamist group forbids women from participating in sports under the Sharia law. A lot of Afghani citizens fled their home country after the takeover, including Sadia, who fled to Germany.
"I am here to fight for my Afghan brothers and sisters back home who are denied basic human rights. This is not about me, this is about all of those back home who are living in fear," Sadia said ahead of her first round bout.
Sadia, who currently trains in Berlin, is a journalist, a published poet, a radio talk-show host, and a former sprinter. She said that it would have been tough to live under the new regime in Afghanistan given her job as a journalist.
"I left Afghanistan due to two reasons. One was the Taliban and the other one was that I was a journalist with the Women's Channel. Female representation in media is under threat and I had a high chance of getting banned. If the Taliban had got me, I had a high chance of getting harmed," Sadia explained her emigration.
"The reason I chose Germany is that my brothers were there already. Germany has a good fitness system and she gets access to the best coach along with training infrastructure," she added.
Extremely proud of her Afghan identity, Sadia chose to represent her home country to send a clear message to the oppressors.
"I am Afghan. From my birth to my studies to training, everything has happened in Afghanistan. The sole reason I am fighting for Afghanistan is that I want to inspire and support girls back home," Sadia said.
"I decided against representing Germany as there are already so many girls there but girls in Afghanistan are suffering," she added.
Despite Taliban officials pledging that Afghan athletes and teams will be allowed to compete internationally, concerns over women's rights in Afghanistan have been increasing day by day.
Accompanying Sadia as a coach at the Boxing Worlds is Afghani-Australian Yawari Amaun.
Talking about the situation of sports in Afghanistan, Yawari said, "Most of the sports federations in Afghanistan are seeking asylum either in Europe or Australia. The national teams of Afghanistan have left the country and they are based in Australia at the moment."
"I have been based in Australia since my childhood and our federation asked me to train her because we couldn't get any coach from Afghanistan to travel here," said Amaun.
When Sadia had initially joined the Afghan boxing team, a lot of girls were inspired by her, but what could have been a boxing movement was ended by the Taliban takeover.
"I can participate in this tournament only because I am Germany-based. A lot of girls started taking up the sport in Afghanistan before we were struck by tragedy again," Sadia said with sadness.
"My main goal remains going to the Olympics and representing the women of Afghanistan," Sadia concluded with a smile on her face and determination in her eyes.
Sadia will face Nur Elif Turhan of Turkey in the featherweight category at World Boxing Championships. But despite the result inside the ring, she has already won a fight outside the ring.