reportage. “Sports are my fight and a way to resist,” claims Fatima, an Afghan karateka who lives in a Lesbos refugee camp.

Invisible or almost. Refugee women make up only 20% of the sports practitioners registered by the Association of Yoga and Refugee Sports in Lesbos (Greece). But they are often the first people in which sports can benefit from their impact in terms of health, well-being and even integration. Near the Mavrovouni camp, the Sports Association seeks to support them both in their daily practice and at the top level.

“The Taliban banned women from training, playing sports, improving their living environment, or studying. They did not give us the right to leave the house. It was very dangerous. As we were becoming, we ran away with our family. “”Karateka’s Fatima Milzahi explains. A young woman with a serious face, almond eyes, a pulled shirt, and a perfect appearance has lived in the Mabrovoni camp in Greece for six months.

On the right, Fathima Mirzahi is training to rehearse karate movements on May 22, 2022.  (Louise Le Borgne)

At the age of 15, she had to leave everything behind. “”I trained daily in Afghanistan and competed internationally in Pakistan, Tajikistan and India. All I want is to go to a country where I can put my passion into practice. ” add Lady.

“Sports are my fight and a way to resist. I am proud of my family and country. I want to participate in the Olympics in Afghanistan.”

Fatima Milzahi, refugees

France Information: Sports

According to the latest report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) dated 16 June 2022, p.About 2.7 million Afghans live abroad with refugee status. Fatima, she is still patient in the middle of the white tent of the Mabrovoni camp, and the refugee status is accepted.

EThe young woman, who was waiting to return to the World Circuit, was honored to continue training. As soon as she arrived on the island, she hurriedly joined her nearest gym. EHe shares it from now on In the process of her acquaintance with other women karate..

“Shaaaaa! Stronger! upper!“, Fatima’s screams echoed in a small gym. The door closed and the sign slipped into the entrance. “Only women are allowed.” The poster has been translated into English, Arabic and Persian. To attract more women to their activities, the Yoga and Refugee Sports Association has developed a women-only activity. “”That’s important to me. I’ve always trained this way, but I’m not confident otherwise. “ Fatima explains.

Warming up for women's karate class at the Yoga and Sport With Refugees Gym on May 23, 2022.  (Louise Le Borgne / Franceinfo: sport)

“Of course, all activities are open to everyone, but for cultural reasons, Afghan women are not accustomed to training with men and may be teased when they return to camp. We have set up a course of karate and swimming for women so that they can practice physical activity with confidence. “, Estelle Jean, director of the Yoga and Refugee Sports Association, explains.

Fathima Marzahi is a hopeful Afghan karate. The arrival of her Taliban disrupted her daily life, and the young woman had to flee with her family. She currently lives in the Mavrovouni camp on Lesbos, where she intends to continue her training while waiting for her dissertation.

Two other women attended a karate class this Saturday morning..Difficult to keep up with the pace of high-level, uncompromising athletes.. “”Wow, it hurts a little. “ Rebecca reacts when monetizing a lightning kick from Fatima with her boxing pad. A young woman from Ethiopia came in her twenties “Return to the original state”..She has been traveling on the Mediterranean road for another year.. Beyond physical practice, Rebecca says she’s happy Find another woman“Who do you exchange with in a calm atmosphere?

“At the gym, you can practice activities that are important to them in a more protected place than camping. Here you can improve their health and breathe.” add Nina of winterCo-founder of the association. A Cameroonian refugee, Bijou supports her words and emphasizes the daily difficulties that impede her practice. “I don’t care that it’s between women, but for me it’s mainly a niche issue. I don’t come so often so I continued karate after physical education. When I leave the camp, I eat food. You have to go to, work, and live your daily life. You can only come here on weekends. “ Blow off a young woman in pink tights with a weight machine.

“I want to resume training and become a world champion, but no one is at my level here.”

Fatima Marzahi, a high-level refugee athlete

France Information: Sports

The association’s gym is well equipped. Sports bras, leggings and T-shirts are properly ordered at the entrance and are available to sportswomen. However, there is a lack of equipment when it comes to karate kimono and proper protection. Therefore, it is leggings that young women manage warming up and exercising with a combination of Persian, Japanese, and some English words. “”These classes clear my mind, but I want to have more people, more opposition, and more material. “Frowned at a young woman. Therefore, the sportswoman fights herself, stares at herself in the mirror, and sends back the warrior’s face. The face of an exile.

Afghan refugee Fatima Mirzahi warmed up on the island of Lesvos on May 23, 2022.  (Louis Le Borgne)

If Fatima is the only high-level sportswoman in karate, the association enrolls more and more women in the course as part of it, whether mixed or not. “It’s related to the end of Ramadan, not only the good weather, but also the work of volunteers who ensured to take women to the gym.” Before drawing any conclusions, I would like to emphasize Estelle Jean. “The purpose is to play sports together, have this physical and moral breath, eliminate all cultural differences and gender stereotypes, and as much as possible the sporting ambitions of sportswomen like Fathima. To support. ” And when karate returns to the Olympics, why not try it until the Olympics?