Imagine you’re ranked 248th in your weight category and the draw puts you against the top seeded judoka in that category. That’s what happened to Nigara Shaheen (-70kg), the sole participant from Afghanistan. In her first round she met Marie Eve Gahie from France, currently ranked number one in the World. You already could guess the outcome of that bout. However, Shaheen’s first appearance on the World Tour tatami might be more than just a judo statistic. It could be ground breaking for judo in her country … IJF Media talked to her in the Mixed Zone.
Nigara Shaheen (AFG) vs. Marie Eve Gahie (FRA)

For Nigara Shaheen, a master student in international trade, the Grand Slam in Ekaterinburg is her second international tournament. “Previously, I participated at the 2017 Asian Games in Hongkong, but I got a shoulder injury there. This is my first return to the international scene after my injury. I was pretty excited about it,” she says.

“It feels great to represent your country on such a big platform. Back home I’m the only female judoka. I got so excited I could participate in this tournament, but I guess my preparations were not enough. Hopefully I’ll do better next time.”

The draw made her awestruck. “After the draw I realized I was going to face Marie Eve Gahie from France, a very strong opponent and the current number one on the World Ranking. I know her well since I follow her actions on the mat. Nevertheless, for me it was a great opportunity to compete against her although I hoped to continue a bit more. My mistake I got overexcited, that’s the reason I didn’t do well.”

Asked if she sees herself as a role model, Shaheen realizes she could be an example to fellow countrywomen. “Being the only female judoka in Afghanistan, I have to practice with the men. Unfortunately, there are so many social taboos connected with women playing sports in my country. I would be proud if in the long run I could be considered a role model for other girls or women in Afghanistan. I would be honored being one. There are so many social boundaries associated with women in sports in Afghanistan, especially in judo. In other martial arts, like karate and taekwondo, there is lesser close contact compared to judo. Practicing with male training partners, this is frustrating. I guess, I’m not only a fighter on the tatami, but also outside the mat I’m fighting against all the prejudice.”

Judo made Nigara Shaheen a determined young woman. “Since I was twelve years old, I dreamed of winning a medal for my country. I have given up so much to be present here.” Studying at university didn’t withheld her from pursuing her judo career. “Currently I’m studying international trade at the university here in Ekaterinburg as an exchange student. and here I can practice with the university team,” ends Shaheen.

See also
#JudoWorlds Pound-For-Pound King Ono Shohei

23. Jun. 2019 / Olympic champion Ono Shohei (JPN) is the man to beat ...

Wednesdays of the French team

23. Jun. 2019 / The French Judo Federation created in 1994 an animation ...

Sierra Leone Judo Association celebrates International Day of the African Child

21. Jun. 2019 / The Sierra Leone Judo Association marked the International ...

Toma Nikiforov and other Judokas Flag Bearer for their Delegation during European Games Opening Ceremony

20. Jun. 2019 / Belgian judoka Toma Nikiforov will be the flag bearer ...

World Refugee Day
Congolese Stars help the Young Generation

20. Jun. 2019 / On the Occasion of the World Refugee Day, discover ...

World Judo Championships Tokyo 2019 Promo

20. Jun. 2019 / World Judo Championships Tokyo 2019 presented by PARK24 ...

Leaders for Peace in Tunisia

20. Jun. 2019 / At the beginning of May, the IJF attended for the first ...

Military and Police
Judo Premiere and Awards for the Police

20. Jun. 2019 / From May 9-13, 2019, the 15th European Police Championships ...

USA Judo unveils championship titles at nationals

19. Jun. 2019 / USA Judo has produced a first for the Olympic sport ...

The Hague Grand Prix cancelled

19. Jun. 2019 / The Hague Grand Prix has been cancelled for both the ...

TOP 5 IPPONS - Hohhot Grand Prix 2019

18. Jun. 2019 / Watch the best ippons from the Hohhot Grand Prix 2019.

Belgian Van Tichelt returns to practice on Tatami after Knee Surgery

14. Jun. 2019 / Great judo news in Belgium last week.

Dutch Judoka Veteran Koppe Pockets Gold at All Japan International Open

11. Jun. 2019 / Recently, Hendrik Koppe, a judo heavyweight from judo ...

Shishime Ai (JPN)

08. Jun. 2018 / The next reigning world champion to be invited to answer ...

5 Key Takeaways from judo’s first Tokyo 2020 qualifier

06. Jun. 2018 / Highlights from Hohhot Grand Prix 2018

Judo for the World in Iran

07. Jun. 2018 / In April 2018, the International Judo Federation and ...

JUDO: A Beneficial Cause

07. Jun. 2018 / 'Society should believe in sport as a beneficial cause ...