Afghanistan's greatest athletes and greatest resource

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I can't imagine what it must be like for an Afghani child of 8 or 9 years old to grow up in a place where all they've ever known of life is war, where bombs fall from the sky or where playing in the street you could step on a land-mine. Oh wait! maybe i can. i grew up in Bushwick Brooklyn in the early 1970's before it was a burgeoning hipster community. It wasn't a safe place to play let alone live. My father passed away when I was only 7 years old leaving me the only male child and the youngest in my household. I can remember being afraid for the safety of my mother and 2 older sisters when they would go to work and school. I'm sure that many Afghani children experience the same fear for their parents and siblings as well as for their own life.

I was five years old when I witnessed something that would change my life. It was 1968 and while watching the summer Olympic games I saw Bob Beamon leap 29 feet 2 and one half inches through space. I knew in that moment that I wanted to be an Athlete. You see to me Athletes were like  Superhero's  and could do anything.

The children  of Afghanistan are its greatest resource but when you grow up feeling enslaved by your circumstance you believe that you are powerless and so when groups like the Taliban come along it's very easy  exploit those feelings of helplessness and low self esteem especially in young children and adolescences.

Athletic training is important for the Afghan children,  it is a way to work through the feelings of hopelessness helplessness and low self esteem brought about by living in a war torn country. The intensity of training and play builds self confidence self esteem concentration, character and community  that will influence the rest of their lives. Fitness and athletic Training also foster good Health and Academics, its been proven that children who engage in sport tend to be Healthier Happier and better Students. All of these benefits can lead to the rebuilding of a great country but most importantly it can inspire future generations to challenge themselves to be greater and  to never again be enslaved by war or oppressed by radical fringe groups.

In 2004, sprinter Robina Muqimyar was one of two women along with judo athlete Friba Razayee to be the first women ever to represent Afghanistan at the Olympics.

As a peace keeping force American Marines like Luke Deer who believe in living a healthy lifestyle even under the threat of war are reaching out to the community in Afghanistan and helping to inspire and educate children. it only take one individual to open a door that millions can walk through.

Paul Virtue

Follow me @virtuefitness



About the author


Paul Virtue is a life-long athlete who understands the challenge, the pain and the dream. As a personal trainer, he is able to give his clients the benefit of his experience. He turns a deaf ear to excuses and facilitates remarkable transformations. Paul believes in the power of the individual…

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