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The New Life Of Nilofar Bayat, The Captain Of The Afghan Wheelchair Basketball Team

The story of Nilofar Bayat is one of many that is leaving the crisis in Afghanistan. However, her situation as a woman, worker, student and aid worker has placed her in the spotlight after the takeover of the country by the Taliban, who do not like to see an independent and liberated woman like her.

The captain of the national wheelchair basketball team, a law student and a worker at the International Committee of the Red Cross has managed to flee Afghanistan with her husband Ramish, also a wheelchair basketball player, and her future lies in Spain.

Her story went viral due to his friendship with the journalist Antonio Pampliega who transmitted his situation through social networks. The FEB has assured that the case reached its president, Jorge Garbajosa, who contacted the CSD to do everything possible so that the names of both were on the passenger list of one of the planes to be destined for Spain.

As the CSD explained to this newspaper, the mediation began on Sunday, August 15 in the evening after the call from Jorge Garbajosa to the director of the CSD's Cabinet of the Presidency, Juan Fernández Carnicer, in which he reported this situation and the willingness of the federation to help. In this way, the Higher Sports Council transferred his case to Foreign Affairs through the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The player has been in a wheelchair since she was two years old due to a missile that caused a spinal cord injury in 1992, the same one that killed her brother and wounded her father. She has lived through the war since she was a child and from the moment the Taliban entered Kabul, she tried by all means to escape the country. The player was locked up at home for three days because her attempts to go to work were failed by the arrival of the Taliban.

Nilofar and Ramish sent all their documents to Spain and with the corresponding safe conducts they began their transfer to the airport, which they managed to enter last Wednesday by circumventing the Taliban controls. However, at that time there was no one from Spain because the planes had not arrived yet, and initially their transfer was to be to Germany. However, this flight did not depart and the staff of the Spanish embassy managed to locate them. Their new lives began last Friday when they boarded the A400M of the Spanish Armed Forces.


Nilofar Bayat had not arrived in Spain and job offers were already raining down on her. The Bidaideak Bilbao BSR club communicated "its full readiness" to incorporate Bayat. The president of the Basque club José María Alonso, current league champion, sent his request to the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation and the Spanish Basketball Federation so that the captain of the Afghanistan team "can reside in Bilbao" and play at the Bidaideak BSR next season.

Humberto Núñez del Prado, director of the club, has revealed that as soon as he learned about the situation of both players, he thought that he had to be in solidarity: "I called the president and he called the club's board who decided that he had to lend a hand."

The club did not receive any confirmation from Nilofar and Ramish, until this Saturday, when both have accepted the offer. Even so, the vice president of BSR Emilio Pedrini, before knowing the positive response of both, revealed to this newspaper that they felt obliged to do so: "I do not know if the future of both in Spain is going to be to continue being basketball players, but that is secondary. We felt challenged as a club and as an association represented by the club that provides opportunities for the disabled."

Now we know that both have decided to accept the proposal and start a new life doing what they like the most and what they cannot do at the moment in their country.

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