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Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan
Herat Parkour and Freerunning Team overcome obstacles to bring the discipline to Afghanistan's streets.
Last updated: 24 Nov 2013 09:00
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Herat, Afghanistan - From the Qalai Iktaryuddin - which for 2,000 years housed various emperors, including Alexander the Great, to the tomb of Queen Goharshad - who presided over an empire stretching from the Tigris to the Chinese borderlands, the western city of Herat has long been considered one of the centres of Afghan history and culture.

With their flips, vaults and spins, four young men in Herat hope to continue the city's legacy as a vanguard in Afghan culture by introducing the discipline of Parkour to Afghanistan.

Alireza Bayat, Raziq Dostyar, Habib Mohammadi and Hossin Amiri first discovered the sport online three years ago. They were transfixed by videos of traceurs effortlessly using their agile bodies to transform walls, ramps and stairways from mundane artefacts of daily urban life into obstacle courses.

Since then, under the tutelage of Dostyar, the boys have taken the discipline from the computer screen to the streets of Herat.

"Parkour is all about finding creative ways to surmount everyday obstacles," Bayat told Al Jazeera of what appealed to him about the discipline.

Though skateboarding, graffiti, hip-hop and rock music have all made inroads in various Afghan cities, the Herat Parkour and Freerunning Team is the only squad of its kind in the country.

Still, Bayat says the four have only ever received praise from the wowed onlookers when the squad takes over the streets of Herat on Friday afternoons.

The criticisms they have received are few and far between. When they approached the Herat Olympic Committee for assistance, Dostyar said the squad was told "Parkour is symbolic, not a sport". For their parents, the traceurs said the threat of physical injury has led them to ban all talk of Parkour around them.

Despite the setbacks, the four twenty-something Heratis continue on their endeavour in hopes of serving as pioneers of a new cultural endeavor in Afghanistan.

an extremely negative image with regards to democracy and freedom of speech in Egypt after the June 30 revolution


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Parkour is a training discipline using movement developed from obstacles. Photo: Ali Latifi


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Hossin Amiri demonstrates his skills the western city of Herat. Photo: Ali Latifi


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The obstacles Parkour participants like Hossin Amiri must overcome are physical and mental. Photo: Ali Latifi


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Parkour originated in France, but Habib Mohammadi, left, and Hossin Amiri have formed a troupe to bring the sport to Afghanistan. Photo: Ali Latifi


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Habib Mohammadi demonstrates his agility in Parkour training. Photo: Ali Latifi


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According to Parkourtrain.net, the purpose of the discipline is to get from one place to another in the most efficient manner possible, as Hossin Amiri demonstrates. Photo: Ali Latifi


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Alireza Bayat says the discipline is about finding creative ways to surmount everyday obstacles. Photo: Ali Latifi


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Amin Dostyar is another member of the young Herati who have jumped at the chance of mastering the art of Parkour. Photo: Ali Latifi


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From left, Habib Mohammadi, Hossin Amiri, Amin Dostyar and Alireza Bayat first discovered the sport online three years ago. Photo: Ali Latifi


Follow Ali Latifi on Twitter: @alibomaye


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captions:
Parkour is a training discipline using movement developed from obstacles. Photo: Ali Latifi;*;Hossin Amiri demonstrates his skills the western city of Herat. Photo: Ali Latifi;*;The obstacles Parkour participants like Hossin Amiri must overcome are physical and mental. Photo: Ali Latifi;*;Parkour originated in France, but Habib Mohammadi, left, and Hossin Amiri have formed a troupe to bring the sport to Afghanistan. Photo: Ali Latifi;*; Habib Mohammadi demonstrates his agility in Parkour training. Photo: Ali Latifi;*;According to Parkourtrain.net, the purpose of the discipline is to get from one place to another in the most efficient manner possible, as Hossin Amiri demonstrates. Photo: Ali Latifi;*; Alireza Bayat says the discipline is about finding creative ways to surmount everyday obstacles. Photo: Ali Latifi;*;Amin Dostyar is another member of the young Herati who have jumped at the chance of mastering the art of Parkour. Photo: Ali Latifi;*;From left, Habib Mohammadi, Hossin Amiri, Amin Dostyar and Alireza Bayat first discovered the sport online three years ago. Photo: Ali Latifi Daylife ID:
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Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Giant leap for Parkour in AfghanistanWith their flips, vaults and spins, the Herat Parkour and Freerunning Team, comprising four young Herati, including Hossin Amiri, have introduced the discipline of Parkour to Afghanistan. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_en-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Sat, 23 Nov 2013 14:05:56 GMTGiant leap for Parkour in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/6450849eec3d744ae0fecfdadae53b08

Parkour is a training discipline using movement developed from obstacles.

Photo: Ali Latifi
http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/6450849eec3d744ae0fecfdadae53b08Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan

Parkour is a training discipline using movement developed from obstacles.

Photo: Ali Latifi
Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/196e2b60036b66f842237c1b9959d8eb

Hossin Amiri demonstrates his skills the western city of Herat. Photo: Ali Latifi

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/196e2b60036b66f842237c1b9959d8ebGiant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan

Hossin Amiri demonstrates his skills the western city of Herat. Photo: Ali Latifi

Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/8d2baafc1984ae90c180e4a434cc257c

The obstacles Parkour participants like Hossin Amiri must overcome are physical and mental. Photo: Ali Latifi

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/8d2baafc1984ae90c180e4a434cc257cGiant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan

The obstacles Parkour participants like Hossin Amiri must overcome are physical and mental. Photo: Ali Latifi

Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/960c2bd0ac4052024f727a91262d60d8

Parkour originated in France, but Habib Mohammadi, left, and Hossin Amiri have formed a troupe to bring the sport to Afghanistan. Photo: Ali Latifi

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/960c2bd0ac4052024f727a91262d60d8Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan

Parkour originated in France, but Habib Mohammadi, left, and Hossin Amiri have formed a troupe to bring the sport to Afghanistan. Photo: Ali Latifi

Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/42002b27d7256e2acb9fc57f16a484ea

Habib Mohammadi demonstrates his agility in Parkour training. Photo: Ali Latifi

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/42002b27d7256e2acb9fc57f16a484eaGiant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan

Habib Mohammadi demonstrates his agility in Parkour training. Photo: Ali Latifi

Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/c59ca31e6f3ac70722a6ff0498003494

According to Parkourtrain.net, the purpose of the discipline is to get from one place to another in the most efficient manner possible, as Hossin Amiri demonstrates. Photo: Ali Latifi

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/c59ca31e6f3ac70722a6ff0498003494Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan

According to Parkourtrain.net, the purpose of the discipline is to get from one place to another in the most efficient manner possible, as Hossin Amiri demonstrates. Photo: Ali Latifi

Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/48d096710bc5b1f058b0a69fee377a37

Alireza Bayat says the discipline is about finding creative ways to surmount everyday obstacles. Photo: Ali Latifi

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/48d096710bc5b1f058b0a69fee377a37Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan

Alireza Bayat says the discipline is about finding creative ways to surmount everyday obstacles. Photo: Ali Latifi

Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/59c8873f02b43393aca316569ff170c0

Amin Dostyar is another member of the young Herati who have jumped at the chance of mastering the art of Parkour. Photo: Ali Latifi

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/59c8873f02b43393aca316569ff170c0Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan

Amin Dostyar is another member of the young Herati who have jumped at the chance of mastering the art of Parkour. Photo: Ali Latifi

Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/378cee5b42151af3b3886bad50a05ca6

From left, Habib Mohammadi, Hossin Amiri, Amin Dostyar and Alireza Bayat first discovered the sport online three years ago. Photo: Ali Latifi

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Herat_Parkour_and_Freerunning_Team_/slideshow/giant-leap-for-parkour-in-afghanistan/378cee5b42151af3b3886bad50a05ca6Giant leap for Parkour in Afghanistan

From left, Habib Mohammadi, Hossin Amiri, Amin Dostyar and Alireza Bayat first discovered the sport online three years ago. Photo: Ali Latifi



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