Invictus Games – Afghanistan’s Sitting Volleyball team lifted by the locals

The Afghanistan sitting volleyball team won the majority of the crowd’s support during the pool competition at the Genea Netball Centre on Monday, despite not winning either of their pool games.

Story courtesy of Invictus Games
Main Photo: Afghanistan players celebrate winning a point against Team UK in their sitting volleyball pool play. (C/O) Getty Images / Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

A trio of supporters with green, black and red started it all as they stood out while chanting their nation on and proudly displayed the national flag. One of them, Shabana Karimi, is an Afghan-Australian that came to Australia in 1996.“I was very excited,” Karimi said. “They lost, but they’re already a winner to us because they’re here to represent Afghanistan.”

While Afghanistan lost both matches they received a winner’s reaction. After the second match Sofia Sadiqi met the Afghani competitors. “It was a wonderful game,” Sadiqi said. “I’m happy with what they achieved.” Sohail Naseri was one of the Afghani competitors that appreciated the support. “I did not feel alone,” Naseri said.

His team is here without the friends and family who are so important to every  wounded warrior’s rehabilitation. Just to make these Invictus Games they went through the financial limitations of the country that is still a war zone.

The eight competitors from Afghanistan have a modest team of five support staff. The multicultural society in Sydney stepped up to fill the gap, as members of the local Afghanistan community have helped support the travelling group of eight competitors and five support staff. Naseri was a farmer before he enlisted in the Afghani national army in 2009. While on intelligence patrol in the Helman province, his unit were ambushed from three directions. After a few hours of close combat, a remote controlled mine was detonated and Naseri lost both of his legs.


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