Defying taboos, Balkh women join sports club
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): Undeterred by cultural taboos and security threats, women are increasingly joining different sports in northern Balkh province, an official said on Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Laila Sapi, in charge of the Balkh Women’s Sports Club, said: “Women are in greater need of playing sports than men.”
Laila, who set up the club two years ago, said women could save themselves from a number of diseases specific to them if they continued to play games.
As many as 75 women visit the club on a daily basis in Mazar-i-Sharif, where females are still faced with family and social pressures.
The 30-year-old recalled: “I have been an exercise enthusiast since my school days. In defiance of family pressures, I continued to play games and conclusively proved that women too need sports.”
Happy to head a club that offers women fitness opportunities, including through volleyball, ping pong, basketball and chess, she said most members of the facility were married women.
Medical experts agree that sports play a major role in preventing a number of women’s ailments. Dr. Wakil Matin of the Balkh Civil Hospital said some diseases that women suffered before and after marriage could be prevented through a variety of exercises.
High blood pressure, blood lipids, backaches and headaches are some of such diseases, according to the doctor, who said Afghan women were under greater mental stress than men.
Najla, 32, who married four years ago and has two children, is a regular visitor of the club. She thanked her family for allowing her to play sports.
"After marriage, I started suffering from multiple pains and visited repeatedly doctors, who advised me to rely on workouts instead of using medicine."
Najla said she has been doing different workouts at the club on a daily basis in return for 500 afs in monthly fees. As a result, she has been able to get rid of the pains.
But Sapi lamented many families barred their women from playing sports despite their many benefits. Measures had been taken to arrange hejab for members of the club, she concluded.