WIDER IMAGE-Afghan girls fight prejudice with martial arts


news.trust.org - Girls of the Shaolin Wushu club face regular harassment and abuse in addition to the normal dangers of life in Kabul KABUL, Feb 3 (Reuters) - On a snowy mountaintop to the west of Kabul, a group of Afghan girls practise 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, the 20-year-old leading the practice session, 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.