Where the light shines - Witness - DO NOT USE
[Al Jazeera]
From: Witness

Where the Light Shines: The Birth of Skiing in Afghanistan

Two young Afghan skiers hope to qualify for the Winter Olympics as they dream of a brighter future for their country.

Editor’s note: This film is no longer available to view online.

It takes Sajjad and Alishah four hours to climb the Bamiyan peaks behind their village in Afghanistan – but just four minutes to glide down on their skis.

The two men practice on the snowy mountainside, their skis leaving delicate tracks in the soft powder, their sunglasses deflecting the mountain’s bright light.

At first, families and neighbours look on incredulously. Training is not easy here, where treks up the mountain can exhaust the athletes before they even begin.

But when they hear of an opportunity to train for the Winter Olympics in South Korea, they seize it, working with coaches and travelling to training camps. If successful, they will be the first athletes from Afghanistan to qualify to compete in the Winter Olympics.

Through their journey, they also hope to inspire others, as local children strap wood to their feet and tumble down the snowy banks in imitation.

Where the Light Shines follows the two men in the lead-up to the 2018 games as they face up to the challenges of a new sport and create opportunities in a country that for generations has seen only war.