Her personal best time in the 100m sprint is more than four seconds slower than the world record. She knows that she is unlikely to qualify for the final. But for Tahmina Kohistani even coming last in the heats would be a personal triumph, given what she’s been through to get to the Olympics.
Tahmina Kohistani © Galllo Images
Tahmina, just five foot three tall and wearing a headscarf even when running, is Afghanistan’s only female Olympian and she is well aware of what that represents: “This means a lot for me and my country. There were a lot of people who were trying to disturb me, to stop me from training, but I am here,” she said this week.
“A lot of people will be watching me,” she added. “Being a Muslim female athlete is most important for me…I represent a country where every day there are suicide blasts. It is important that a girl from such a country can be here.”
“Most people oppose girls doing any kind of sport in in Afghanistan, let alone competing publicly and internationally,” she told the [London] Times…”They think it is un-Islamic. But they are ignorant and want to keep living in darkness.”
Tahmina trained in Kabul’s Ghazi stadium where under the Taliban, women were executed for “immoral” behaviour.
She’s already a winner: the London Afghan community are solidly behind her: “They can’t believe I’m here and competing. So for me, the winning is not important. It’s about doing something for my country and for society.”
…and a piece on Maher Abu Rmeilah, a Palestinian sporting hero, here
Peter Tatchell Foundation: end gender bias at the Olympics, here