Afghan Army Officer Wins International Running Match WITHOUT VOICEOVER
Independent Films, Politics, Documentaries
For the first time in recent history, an Afghan National Army officer has taken 1st place for running in an international competition, beating out participants from 30 other nations. Unfortunately he may not be able to pursue running because of military duties and lack of financial support
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Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
NAT SOUND- confetti popping and applause as chairman of Olympic committee comes into assembly hall.
Afghanistan is rapidly gaining international attention for its athletes, and according to some of the Afghan journalists here, this press conference and award ceremony was almost routine--- the Tae Kwon Do team has won medals in Thailand, the wrestling team has taken medals in Uzbekistan, the rugby team continues its assent with a good showing in Pakistan....
But for this 26-year-old Afghan National Army officer, today's recognition was a first.
SOUNDBITE (DARI) Olympic chairman to assembly:
“Our young soldier has brought home a medal from a competition that involved 30-40 other countries”
2nd Lt. B. Sanger ran 800 meters in 2 min and 17 seconds at a competition hosted by the Logistical Engineering University in China, where he was sent by Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense to learn civil engineering.
SOUNDBITE (DARI) Lt. Sangar
“I was not a competitive runner, but I have boxed and I have good breath.”
No Afghan Army officer has won such a competition abroad.
Soundbite- (Dari) Olympic Committee chairman:
"It is the responsibility of the Olympic committee to introduce such kind of personalities and honor them among the other youths which have brought a great achievement for their country"
Lt. Sanger hadn't planned on coming to Kabul for the award ceremony, but his Battalion Commander in Paktia, an eastern province where he is stationed, read a magazine article about him and told the Lieutenant he should go to the capitol and receive recognition.
Afghans congratulate Lt. Sangar.
Although he would like to pursue running—and it sounds like he would be welcome on Afghanistan's national running team—there is the practical problem of having military duties that would make specialized training difficult. And even if he was granted better conditions for training by his commanders, there would be the problem of financial support.
Soundbite (DARI)- Lt. Sangar
“We have lots of athletes in Afghanistan which are very talented but unfortunately they are not supported well.”
Sanger believes that having family connections in the government would help, but he has none.
Soundbite (Dari) Lt. Sangar
“But I hope that one day officials will support those who can reach a position by their own efforts and talent .”
NAT sound of running--
But while Lt Sanger is careful not to complain about his circumstances, neither is he accepting of them. During his time in China he enjoyed being part of an international community where things were different:
SOUNDBITE (Dari) Lt. Sangar:
“We all were equal, living in a friendly environment. We all had the same rights even though we came from different countries.”
Like most of Afghanistan's capable, educated young, the Lt is impatient for change but has no illusions about the challenges ahead, saying, “it can take two years to build a home, and two seconds for a rocket to destroy it. Rebuilding Afghanistan will take time.”
NAT SOUND (Dari) Lt. Sangar:
“I want to serve the country of my people Afghanistan. I will always give 100% to win.”
Jeff Holden with Sayed Mansoor Alam, in Kabul, for the Nato Channel.
Year of Production: 2011
Country: United States