Afghan Refugee B-Girl Prepares for Olympic Debut

Afghan Refugee B-Girl Prepares for Olympic Debut
Afghan Refugee B-Girl Prepares for Olympic Debut

Manizha Talash is one of 36 athletes on the Refugee Olympic Team for Paris, one of two women on the team originally from Afghanistan and the lone athlete on the team who competes in the new Olympic sport of breaking.

Talash, 21, left Afghanistan shortly after the Taliban regained control of the country in August 2021. She has lived in Spain for the last two years.Afghan refugee b-girl Manizhan Talash is ready to shine on her debut at the Paris Olympics, where breaking will be held for the first time.

After fleeing the Taliban three years ago, Talash trains in Madrid to prepare to compete in the Refugee Team in a first for the sport.

Dancing for a young girl in Afghanistan is hard, she said, adding she would not be alive there pursuing her passion.

The breakdancer said going to the Olympics is her dream, although she would have loved to defend Afghan colors at the French Games.

She discovered breaking at 17 via a Facebook video and began training, becoming the only girl among 55 people at a local Kabul gym. Breaking allowed her to escape problems and relax mentally. However, as a woman participating in the male-dominated sport in Afghanistan, she faced dangers - receiving death threats, and three bombing attempts at her gym, two of which went off killing bystanders. 

Though excited for the Olympic platform, Talash hopes to eventually return to Afghanistan if circumstances allow. 

B-girl Talash, as she is known, trains both physical and technical skills six days per week to be at the level of the highest competition.

Breaking, an urban dance style that originated in the United States in the 1970s, was added by the International Olympic Committee to the Paris Games in 2024 in an effort to attract a younger, more urban audience.