They say that sport can cut through all social and political boundaries, but the barrier fences are definitely thicker in Afghanistan - especially if you are a woman. Fariba Rezayee, 22, became the first female to represent her country in the Olympics when she made a brief but historic ap- pearance at the Athens Games.
She was inspired to take up boxing at 14 after watching Laila Ali beat up Joe Frazier’s daughter live on TV in 2001.
After the fall of the Taliban she returned to Kabul burning with desire to be a world famous boxer and started training at the Olympic stadium, a venue that had just stopped stoning women to death as a spectator sport. Most Afghans at this time were just getting their heads around girls going to school.
She switched sports because of a shortage of other female boxers, but the fact that she now trains daily with men in robes in a dimly lit base- ment of an Afghan snooker club says a lot about the progress women are making here.
Whilst some may argue that women’s rights in Afghanistan are under attack, there are increasing numbers of brave and inspiring women carving out careers in fields as diverse as politics, entertainment and academia.