Rahimi’s TKO: Afghan Woman Boxer’s Olympic Invite Rescinded Amid Safety Concerns

Even before she had a chance to step in the ring, Afghan woman boxer Sadaf Rahimi has had her Olympic bid ended because of concerns for her safety

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Andrea Bruce / NOOR for TIME

Sadaf Rahimi practices in her Kabul gym at the Olympic Stadium to prepare for the Olympics

Nobody expected Sadaf Rahimi, the Afghan woman boxer selected to go to the London Olympic Games next week, to do well in the ring. The mere fact that she would be representing her country was triumph enough. But even that chance has been snatched away in the final days before she was to make her journey to London. On 18 July, the International Boxing Association (AIBA), decided that Sadaf would not compete, citing concerns that boxing against opponents of much higher standards might threaten her safety in the ring. Not only is this a disappointment for Rahimi, her family and the aspirations of Afghan women athletes, it strikes a blow to the International Olympic Committee’s oft-stated goal to have women athletes represented from every country, just a week after Saudi Arabia, the last hold-out, reluctantly agreed to send two women athletes.

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Rahimi has been preparing for the Olympics since February, when she was first notified that she would receive what is known as a wild-card invitation ­ a special berth granted to nations that would not otherwise be able to qualify an appropriately skilled athlete. Later that month she traveled to the UK to train in a special AIBA boxing camp, where she had her first taste of Olympic-caliber boxing. At first, she tells TIME, she was getting knocked down “two to three times a day.” But by the end of the two-week program, she was starting to hold her own in the ring. Still, she was sanguine about her chances in London. “I am sure I will be punched like a bag. Like I am a pillow being pummeled,” she told TIME in April. “Whether I win a medal or not, I will be a symbol of courage as soon as I step into the ring.”

It is unclear why the AIBA waited until just over a week before the Olympics to evoke Rahimi’s initiation. In May, when Rahimi attended the women’s world boxing championships in China, her fight was stopped short, after a minute and twenty seconds, because she was doing so poorly. Her coach, as well as the Afghan Olympic Committee, felt that her performance in China was an aberration, saying that she had performed well in other international competitions. Rahimi, say close friends in Kabul, is disappointed. But she is looking forward to competing in other international events, and still holds out hope that with a few more years to train, her chances in Rio 2016 will be even better. She may not be boxing in London this year, but she has not given up the fight.

MORE: Sadaf Rahimi: The Challenger

9 comments
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AcceptFact
AcceptFact

nonsense, do they guarantee other boxer's safety then? some of the safety measures are so over-exaggerated on that side of the world, the example above. i wish they considered civilian's safety and security before initiating any war or occupation.

hitsamty
hitsamty

Think you mean "revoke" and not "evoke."

MarieMackinnon
MarieMackinnon

hmmm...afghanistan and saudi arabia...what's the connection here?

it's not denmark and new zealand. i know, it's not islam, blah blah, it's culture, blah blah, because of the translation, blah blah, it's a tiny percentage. blah blah.

LoudRambler
LoudRambler

Mohammad:

 Dudes, you're so weird! Why did you think I banned alcohol? Man made booze, God made grass - who do you trust?

 

 I told you to STONE "inappropriate" women to death, not throw stones at them till they die!

Sonia Meme
Sonia Meme

 Wow ! Oh the ignorance, you're like steak willing to lay down on a plate.

Susan Lowe
Susan Lowe

This is outrageous. Every boxer who steps in the ring is subject to injury.  To invite Rahimi and then dis-invite her to the Olympics is contrary to the spirit of the Games. Male athletes would never be subjected to such paternalism.

MFa An
MFa An

You shouldn't make it a gender issue. They may certainly have their own procedures which they follow. As mentioned, she was invited a month prior to commencement of Olympics for training. Her poor performance, as would have been observed by the observatory board, must have led to her cancellation to participate. We need to blame the Afghan Olympic council for not properly training their athletes up to the required standards.

Regards,

Mustafa

Vivian Swett
Vivian Swett

Like I am a pillow being pummeled,” she told TIME in April. “Whether I win a medal or not, I will be a symbol of courage as soon as I step into the ring.”..AmazingWayOnlineCash.blogspot.com

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Thanks, Aryn. I hope she can appeal immediately to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and get back to London in time. If not, hopefully she can get a visa, come to US for training (either at boxing club or on a college team) then go back and kick some a$$ at Rio Games. Don't give up, Rahimi!


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