A province in southern Afghanistan organizes a sports event to give young people a chance to test themselves
10 AUGUST 2013 | HELMAND, AFGHANISTAN
When Helmand in southern Afghanistan organized a sports tournament to give young people the chance to test themselves and learn teamwork, it was a first for the province.
The provincial governor’s office funded the day-long tournament, with support from USAID. Nearly 300 young men aged between 18 and 30 took part in multiple events across the provincial capital Lashkar Gah. At least 1,200 spectators from across Helmand province cheered on their teams at the soccer, volleyball, basketball, cricket and pingpong matches.
Preparations for the tournament began in earnest well before, with the governor’s office arranging for the repair of stadiums and playing fields that had suffered years of war damage.
Muhammad Sakha, a young athlete, said it would not have been possible without generous support from the governor’s office. “Many of the athletes could not have provided their own uniforms or sports equipment. The generosity of the governor’s office enabled participation from a segment of society that normally doesn’t get such a chance.”
Muhammad Sabit, a member of the Helmand Provincial Council said the sports tournament was a good investment in “health and stability. It gave the youth physical and mental outlets to invest their time and energy in instead of turning to drug abuse or crime.”
Many of the spectators agreed. Muhammad Ullah Khan, was one of them. He said, “It was very exciting for us to watch our youth competing against each other.”
Last updated: January 20, 2015