In March we introduced you to Mehbooba Ahadyar, a 19-year-old runner who was expected to be the only female on Afghanistan’s Olympic team. She has qualified in the 1500 meters and the 3000 meters, and she was a source of great pride to many Afghan women, who were not permitted to participate in sports under the Taliban.
But now Ahadyar is missing. Time Magazine reports that Ahadyar was training in Italy with other Olympic athletes when she disappeared, apparently voluntarily, taking her bags and her passport with her.
“It was quite a surprise to us,” a spokesman for the worldwide governing body of track and field told Time. “We don’t know where she is. All we know is that she and her bags are gone.”
Eurasianet.org reports that Ahadyar is likely seeking asylum in a European country, terrified of death threats she had received from extremists in Afghanistan who oppose women competing in sports. Sadly, those extremists may get their wish of keeping Afghanistan from sending female athletes to Beijing.