Afghanistan boxing seeks Indian guidance

Vastavam web: A brutal war and relentless terror attacks have hurt just about everything in Afghanistan, barring perhaps one — the spirit to go on and aim for a life beyond the trauma of daily violence.A shining example of this is the country’s eight-strong boxing team that is in the national capital to participate in the ongoing India Open, the richest boxing tournament ever to be held here.”The night we landed in India, we got the news of terror attack in Kabul which killed so many people. This is the daily horror we live with,” coach Mohammed Qadir Sultani told PTI, referring to the ambulance bombing in Kabul on January 27 which killed over 100 people.

The country has a functioning government under President Ashraf Ghani right now but terror attacks, which the Afghans blame on Pakistan, have come in the way of their attempts to move towards normalcy.Sports, for them, is a tool to achieve that normalcy and as far as boxing goes, Afghans says, they can do with a little help from India.”We would like India to provide us with at least one coach. In fact, we would really love to have Mr G S Sandhu as a coach. He is very experienced and we have an excellent rapport with him,” said Mahmood Shah Mehrabuddin, another coach with the national team.Afghanistan have never had a foreign coach train their boxers. Their coaches, however, have got training from the International Boxing Association (AIBA)-appointed experts.

The country now boasts of three female coaches with AIBA certification and at least 30 women boxers in the national camp.It is quite a lot of progress made given that Afghanistan’s first Olympic coach for women boxers Mohammed Saber Sharif had to flee the country fearing for his life for training women boxers.The Afghanistan story has been mostly about war, terror and conflict for years now but sports offers an “escape” and Mehrabuddin said the country is desperate to hold on to it.”Everybody in this world knows that security situation in Afghanistan is not good. But people have not given up.