Aigle (Switzerland), Oct 23 (EFE).- Afghan cyclist Fariba Hashimi, 19, was crowned champion on Sunday at the Women’s Road Championships of Afghanistan which was held in Aigle, Switzerland, the headquarters of the International Cycling Union (UCI).
Her sister Yulduz Hashimi, 22, was the runner-up, and Zahra Rezayee, 19, came third.
“I felt very good, and thanks to the help of my sister and months of training I have been able to have this award,” the winner told Efe.
David Lappartient, UCI president, told Efe that hosting the Afghan championship in “exile” in Switzerland was important and was not just about sport.
“It’s about giving a message of hope to all ladies in Afghanistan,” despite the prohibitions imposed against them by the Taliban, the president added.
The Hashimi sisters also secured a spot at the Israel Premier-Tech professional cycling team on Sunday, which could open the doors to high-profile races like the women’s Tour de France.
The race, which unfolded on a mainly urban 57-kilometer circuit in a beautiful alpine setting, drew a large gathering of Afghans living in Switzerland and other European countries, many of them exiled due to the current political turmoil.
Runners and fans waved the black, red and green flag of the Afghan state which was overthrown by the Taliban in August 2021, when United States troops withdrew from the country after two decades of intervention.
The three winning cyclists reside in Italy, and all of those who competed, 50 in total, live abroad.
Afghan runners came to support the athletes from places as far-flung as Canada, France, Germany and Singapore. Many were evacuated from Afghanistan, with the help of the ICU, after the Taliban came to power.
The tournament was jointly organized by the Afghan Cycling Federation, the UCI, the local government of Aigle and the canton of Vaud. EFE