Afghan refugee ‘B-Girl’ prepares for Olympic debut in Paris

MADRID — Afghan refugee Manizha Talash is poised to make her debut at the Paris Olympics, where breaking will be featured for the first time.

Talash, 21, fled the Taliban three years ago and now trains in Madrid, preparing to compete as part of the Refugee Olympic Team. Her journey from Afghanistan to the global stage highlights both her resilience and the obstacles faced by women in her home country.

“Dancing for a young girl in Afghanistan is hard,” Talash said as quoted in a report by Reuters on Monday. “I wouldn’t be alive there pursuing my passion.”

She spoke of the severe restrictions on women and girls in Afghanistan: “For the girls who are in Afghanistan, it is very difficult to do all the things, for example, to go out of the house or to study. They can’t do anything. But I am happy that I am here, and now I want to do something for my people who are in Afghanistan, my girls, my friends. It is very difficult, but I want to do things, not just say them.”

Competing in the Olympics has always been a dream for Talash, although she wishes she could represent Afghanistan.

“I had a dream, but now I can live in that dream, and I can reach it. So, I am happy, and I am training very hard because that is my life. I like breaking so much,” she said.

Known as B-Girl Talash, she trains both physical and technical skills six days a week to be at the highest level of competition.

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