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Parkour a pleasure boom in Afghanistan

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By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: To avoid the current challenges and also to introduce a new face of the country to the world, a group of young Afghans are finding freedom among the blast walls through the jumping, back-flipping sport of Parkour.

Kabul Boys Parkour Team is the first ever waves of Parkour sport in the country, which gained public’s most attention in few years in the war-hit country.

Parkour free-running is a relatively new concept of sport in Afghanistan, that gaining publics, particularly youths attention just in few years. The group regularly practice some spectacular stunts on the road in different parts of the city, which enchanted people particularly young generation in the shortest of time.

Majority of youth willing to learn Parkour, but lack opportunity deems as barrier ahead of them in this war-hit country.

Among hash, smoke and flame of bombs and explosions, Parkour boys’ team is a boom of pleasure for youth, this sport will reflect other side of Afghanistan to world.

Negative and war news has been headlines for long time, but Parkour is a massage of peace, which introduce Afghans as a peace lover nation to the world.

Although, Kabul Parkour boys still making stunts and practicing on ruined buildings destroyed during civil war. However, they (Parkour Boy) struggle to reach peace massage from inside of gunpowder’s smokes to the world nation.

“We start the Parkour, which is also known as free-running, with three members seven years ago. We had meager resources to continue Parkour in that time,” Jamil Sherzad 22, the founder of Parkour sport, told Afghanistan Times.

At the outset, the Parkour team were not sure to move forward, he said, adding that the people’s motivation gave them feeling to be stronger and work harder to gain success.

“We have exercised some other sports, but never professionally trained in Parkour. We have started free-running amateur with three members.”

“During first days while we were coming out on the streets, people were praise us by saying “wow”, he added. However, he said that his team faced some criticisms, but it was for few period of time.

“Parkour have become almost the most viewed content, after we made short video and uploaded in social media,” he added.

One of video that widely welcomed in social media was when the Parkour team praised Afghan security forces through their professional skills.

He said that Parkour team dressed with police uniforms made stunts in an area looking like battlefield aimed at appreciating security forces.

Regularly, we exercise Parkour in streets and also in destroyed buildings, he said, adding that they don’t have standard gym, professional coach as well as equipment.

He termed lack of equipment, a permanent gym or specialized trainers as a barrier that prevents the boys from advancing beyond the intermediate level.

However, he furthered that shortages of equipment and lack of standard gym and trainers did not slow boys to learn Parkour with enthusiasm through online videos.

To sustain injuries is very common in Parkour, but as other aspect we don’t have access to medical equipment and facilities, he mentioned.

Sherzad said that due to hand injury in 2015, he could not practice Parkour jumping. “Still I feel pain during exercise. I often go to the Afghan doctor. But yet to recover well.”

Expressing grievance over relevant governmental organs, he said that Parkour team don’t receive support from government side.

Another Parkour boy, Rustam Sakhi, said that sometimes security forces prohibit them to practice near security fences, government buildings or private offices due to security reasons.

Parkour boys said that despite challenges, they will continue practicing in a bid to create place for the Afghan Parkour athlete in the world.

Kabul Boys Parkour started with three members in 2009 and now they have more than 20 members from different nations.

According to reports Parkour is a training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, without assistive equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Parkour includes running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling, movement, and other movements as deemed most suitable for the situation.

Parkour was developed in France, primarily by Raymond Belle, and further by his son David Belle and his group of friends, the self-styled Yamakasi, during the late 1980s. The discipline was popularized in the late 1990s and 2000s through films, documentaries, and advertisements featuring the Yamakasi.