Wushu's New Poster Girl
Sima Azimi is Afghanistan’s first female Wushu trainer. She became interested in Wushu after watching martial arts movies as a kid and acquired her skills while living as a refugee in Iran.
Still, Azimi’s students are often subjected to hostility and intimidation en route to practice. As Wushu student Shakila Muradi told The BBC: “There are many people harassing us, but we ignore them and follow our goals.”
Azimi hopes acquiring martial arts skills will help her students defend themselves from the persistent street abuse. The trainer herself once prevented a thief from snatching her purse using her Wushu skills. Eventually, Azimi hopes to watch her students compete in international matches, challenging stereotypes that affect Afghan women both at home and abroad. However, due to the perpetual lack of funding relegated to women’s sports, such an achievement will not come easily.
Despite the great obstacles both Azimi and her students face, the teacher remains resolute in her convictions. “I like to help girls in my country in order to improve their skills, so they can be the same as girls in other countries,” she told Tolo News. “Also, I want to help bring an end to violence against women in Afghanistan.”