Afghanistan's Women Athletes

Robina Muqimyar, (born July 3, 1986) was one of the first two women ever to represent Afghanistan at the Olympic Games, by competing along with judoka Friba Razayee at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Muqimyar took part in the women's 100m sprint. She finished seventh out of eight in her heat, with a time of 14.14 seconds, 0.15 seconds ahead of Somalia's Fartun Abukar Omar. The race was won by Jamaica's Veronica Campbell, with a time of 11.17 seconds. Muqimyar was 17 at the time of the event. She ran in "a T-shirt and long green track pants" rather than more aerodynamic competition clothing.

She was not initially due to compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but joined Afghanistan's delegation after female sprinter Mehboba Ahdyar left her training camp in June to seek political asylum in Norway. At the 2008 Summer Olympics she took part at the 100 metres sprint. In her first round heat she placed eighth and last in a time of 14.80 which was not enough to advance to the second round.

Describing life under the Taliban, Muqimyar has said: "There was nothing for us girls to do under the Taliban. You couldn't go to school. You couldn't play, you couldn't do anything. You were just at home all the time."

Robina Muqimyar said she felt like a winner, even though she had the second-slowest time among 63 women in the 100-metre trials at the Athens Olympics. "I hope I can open the way for the Afghan women," said Muqimyar through an interpreter at a news conference. "I will never ever forget this moment in my life."

Friba Razayee (born September 3, 1985) is an Afghan judoka or judo competitor. In 2004, along with Robina Muqimyar, she was the first Afghan woman to participate in the Olympic Games.

Razayee fled Afghanistan for Pakistan during the Taliban's rule of the country. There she had her first experience with martial arts and began boxing. After her return to Afghanistan in 2002 she moved into judo, and began training for the Olympic Games. At the 2004 Summer Olympics Razayee was classified as a middleweight. In the first round on 18 August she was paired with Spaniard Cecilia Blanco and succumbed after 45 seconds.

Mehboba Ahdyar, born in 1988 or 1989 was also scheduled to be one of very few women representing Afghanistan at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where she planned to compete in athletics in the women's 1,500 metres and 3,000 metres events.

Ahdyar has won competitions in Afghanistan, but the Olympics will be her first competition outside her home country. Her family live in a mud brick house in one of the poorest parts of Kabul. She reportedly runs 1,500 metres in about 4:50.

The Afghan embassy in the United States reported that, as she trained for the Olympics, Ahdyar faced "daily taunts from her more conservative neighbors, vicious rumors about her character, and even death threats from extremists."

Ahdyar planned on wearing a Muslim scarf during the competition: "I will not take off my scarf in China when I race because it is symbol of Muslim women."

On June 4, 2008, Ahdyar disappeared from a training facility in Formia, Italy, possibly to seek asylum. On July 10, 2008, it became known that she was on her way to Norway to seek asylum.

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