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πŸ₯ŠThe Afghan Boxer πŸ‡¦πŸ‡« (NATO in Afghanistan)

πŸ₯ŠThe Afghan Boxer πŸ‡¦πŸ‡« (NATO in Afghanistan)


21 year old Mustafa Qasemi is the top-ranked
boxer for the 57 kg weight class in Kabul. His record is ten wins, one loss with seven
of the wins by knockout. “ I placed first in this tournament. “I won this for the national team with two
knockouts.” “This one was given to me by the mayor.” “I was given this by Zabir Akhbar the head
of the Afghan Olympic Committee.” You would guess that with these achievements
Mustafa would have no problem getting a chance to tryout for the olympic team. But so far
he hasn’t been able to. One problem, Mustafa believes, is that the
selection process is a little less than fair. Each fighter needs a sponsor for eligibility,
and some less qualified fighters can buy their way in. “Some fighters from the national team were
able to buy a recommendation from someone.” But the other problem is simply that Mustafa
doesn’t have enough time to train. He has to work a full-time job to help support his
family. Mustafa puts in very long days. Every morning at 5 am he goes to the mosque
for prayers and recitation from the Holy Quran. After prayers he trains at the gym. After training Mustafa eats breakfast and
goes to work at an automobile repair shop. “I am doing this to help my father because
our family income is not good. I shouldn’t be training and doing this work but I have
no choice. I have to do both.” Mustafa is a hard worker, and honest. And
he does really good work. While Mustafa stands out for his fighting
skills, those who live and work with him find his personality and character also remarkable,
even inspiring. “He helps us with our training when we have
problems. He does not use his boxing in negative ways inside the gym or outside.” “Everywhere he works he treats people well.” When asked about his son, Mustafa’s father
mentions that along with his work at the gym and the shop, Mustafa never neglects work
around the house “I do not have a daughter, and he works
like a daughter with his mother around the house. And helps his uncles and neighbors
in all the great works. And he volunteers at the mosque. He has been a very good son
up to now. I am proud of him.” Mustafa manages to find the energy and the
time to train, to work and not neglect his duties to his family, preparing as best he
can for an opportunity to compete in the olympics. “Mustafa is calm. And his attacks are powerful
because he is calm. If he doesn’t get a knockout in the first round, he waits. He’ll get it
in the second.” The trials are fast-approaching and it is
uncertain if Mustafa will have a chance to compete this time. But what is a sure thing
is the respect he has from his fellow fighters, family, and community for the attempt. Jeff Holden in Afghanistan for the NATO Channel.

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