Female Olympian Urges Exclusion of Kabul from Paris Games

Tue Apr 16 2024
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GENEVA:  Friba Rezayee, Afghanistan’s pioneering Olympian, expresses deep dismay at the treatment of women under the Taliban’s resurgence and advocates for barring the country from the Paris Games. Rezayee, an esteemed judoka from the 2004 Athens Olympics, urges the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to enforce a ban due to the Taliban’s egregious human rights violations. She contends that Afghan women should still have the opportunity to compete under the IOC Refugee Olympic Team. “Given the overwhelming evidence of the Taliban’s brutal oppression of women and children, permitting their participation in the Paris 2024 Olympics poses a grave danger,” states Rezayee, now residing in Vancouver. Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesperson, declined to respond.

Rezayee laments that her efforts to champion women’s rights have been negated by the IOC’s stance. Despite the Taliban’s assertion of respecting women’s rights within their interpretation of Islamic law, they have shuttered girls’ schools, imposed travel constraints on women, and curtailed access to recreational facilities.

When questioned about Rezayee’s plea, the IOC deferred to James Macleod’s recent statement, emphasizing ongoing dialogue with Afghanistan’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) to reverse restrictions on women’s sports access. While recognizing differing opinions on suspending Afghanistan’s NOC, the IOC believes that isolating the Afghan sporting community is not the optimal course of action.

Additionally, the IOC stipulates that athletes must have refugee status confirmed by the United Nations refugee agency to qualify for the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.


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