Female Afghan boxer forced to leave amid Taliban threats

Seema Rezai, Afghan female boxing champion, forced to leave amid Taliban death threats
2 min read
12 September, 2021
Seema Rezai, an 18-year-old lightweight boxing champion, fled Afghanistan after receiving death threats from the Taliban.
The Taliban took over Afghanistan [Getty]

An Afghan female boxer was forced to leave the country after the Taliban reportedly sent her death threats in a bid to stop her from training.

Seema Rezai, a lightweight boxing champion and member of the national female boxing team, said she escaped Afghanistan after she was caught training with her male coach.

"When the Taliban seized Kabul in mid-August, I was at boxing training with my coach. But then some people told the Taliban that there is a girl who trains with a male coach, and they sent me to home a written warning about the need to stop training or continue boxing in the United States, promising to kill if I do not agree to do so," Rezai, 18, told Sputnik.

After that, the teenage athlete decided to leave Afghanistan by herself, without her family, to continue her boxing training.

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Rezai departed for Qatar on an evacuation flight and is currently awaiting a visa to the US, where she hopes to continue her sports career.

She took up professional boxing at the age of 16 without the support of her family.

It was her coach that bought her training equipment, she said.

Rezai added that even prior to the Taliban takeover, being a woman athlete was a challenge for a woman due to the traditionally negative attitude of Afghan society towards women's sports careers.

For this reason, she believes, the federations and the Afghan Olympic Committee rarely invested female teams' participation in international competitions.