Sadia Bromand is the only Afghan boxer at the 2023 IBA Women’s World Championships in New Delhi.
Three years ago, Bromand left Afghanistan to train in Europe – her current base is in Berlin. During her time in Germany, the Taliban took control of her home country in 2021, and in doing so, exiled her from Afghanistan if she wished to continue her boxing dream.
Competing in the 57kg category, she hopes to be able to be standing on the podium at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium next week, so that she can represent her country well, and dedicate her achievement to those back home who were not quite as lucky as her.
“I want to reach the final and go for the gold,” she told media. “This is not only for me but for all my Afghan brothers and sisters back home. As you know the Taliban took over and women haven’t gotten any rights to go to school… let alone do any sports, so getting this far is basically for them and the gold will also be for them.”
“I am Afghan, I trained and studied there, things that women no longer have any support for, which is why I am dedicating this fight for them,” she added.
According to her, there was promise in Afghanistan’s women’s boxers, to follow in her footsteps and win medals at the top events, but since the Taliban took over, support has dried up entirely.
Her comments come after the United Nations, in a statement released on International Women’s Day, claimed that Afghanistan is the most repressive country in the world for women.
Bromand was always passionate about sport, starting off as a sprinter. But boxing is her primary passion, for which she moved to Europe to train and give herself more of a chance to be able to compete at international elite events like the one at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium this week.
She made the decision to go to Germany as her brothers were there, and the gym and boxing facilities were of an improved class. Although boxing was the primary reason for her relocation to Europe, her career as a journalist, having reported on sports and pursued it in further studies, was hampered after the Taliban took over.
“The reason why I left Afghanistan is because firstly of the Taliban and the second reason is because I am also a journalist in Afghanistan and female journalists are pretty much, you could say banned in Afghanistan,” Bromand said. The Taliban, she says, would have definitely harmed someone like her had they taken over the country before she left.
Her coach for the event, Afghan-Australian Yawari Amaun, is joining her since nobody from the Afghan federation could travel to Delhi. He says the situation mirrors that of most sports federations since the Taliban took over.
“Our federation asked me to come and help her out here, since I live in Australia,” Amaun said. “Every federation, whether its boxing or any other sport, has already left Afghanistan so most of them are seeking asylum in Europe or Australia.”
Bromand’s opening bout at the Worlds this year will be Australia’s Tina Rahmi in the second round, due to take place on Sunday. The next stop on her journey will be the German national championships, undoubtedly a huge stepping stone event for her eventual goal, qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics, under the flag of Afghanistan.