Mohadese is a young Afghan woman who is a certified yoga teacher living in Athens.
She is living in Greece for 3 years with her family, brother, sister and mother. She is determined, kind and generous.
She just finished an instructor Empowerment Self Defense Training in Athens.
“For me, sport is an expression of emotions. It allows me to focus on my mind, on one thing at a time – keeping me from overthinking. I set myself goals for poses and I keep on practicing, fighting until I get there.
Sports has helped me to control my emotions and feel more confident in society as a woman as well as to improve and protect myself. Since I started doing sports 4 years ago I have achieved more self-knowledge and awareness.”
Zakhi is a certified yoga teacher working with the association Yoga and Sport with Refugees, in Greece. He started joining yoga classes when he was on Lesvos in 2019 and then decided to follow the Yoga teacher training offered by the organization.
“In the first step since I started to do yoga it helped me to change so many things inside me which I’m so grateful, beside when I train with people in class and when I observe the peace inside them that makes so appreciative, it is important for me because through Yoga I’m getting to know more myself, I’m very thankful that I’ve learnt this skill through Yoga and Sport with Refugee NGO.”
Abhinav Bindra is an Indian Olympic champion specialising in shooting. After making history in India, including winning the country’s first individual gold medal, he also set up his own foundation.
“Having retired from professional shooting in 2016, I wanted to give back to the sporting community and do my bit to ensure everyone gets the opportunity to experience sport and all that it has to teach. It is what drove me to find the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, with the aim to build an ecosystem of excellence in the Indian sporting ecosystem and bring athletes, players at the grassroots, their stakeholders, and the general public together. The key pillars of our initiatives are Intervention (through high-performance training), Education, and Social Upliftment.”
“Sport has been and continues to be my greatest teacher. It has not only taught me how to win but also how to lose, thereby giving me the gifts of humility, acceptance, and self-reflection. It has been my greatest motivator, my greatest drive to work harder towards achieving excellence. Along the way, the sport has also provided me opportunities to form bonds with my teammates, coaches, and rivals.”
Neeraj Chopra is an Indian javelin thrower born in 1997. During the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Neeraj won the gold medal by reaching a distance of 87.58m, a victory that will go down in Indian history.
In an interview with a newspaper, Neraaj explained that he had to hurry up for one of his throws as he had to ask his fellow Pakistani, Arshad Nadeem, for his javelin. A video of the moment went viral on the internet and triggered a lot of virulent comments. Neraaj then shared a video of himself on Twitter to calm the situation and put the video in context. He also expressed his opposition to certain messages that used his comments as a propaganda tool in the tensions between Pakistan and India and he wanted to promote sport for its unifying values.
“Sport is a great tool that allows us to go beyond social, ethnic and religious differences. Sport teaches us to be together and united. That’s why it should not be used to propagate political ideologies.”
Mahdi Khawari was one of the K1 coaches of the association Yoga and Sport with Refugees, which works on the island of Lesvos, in Greece.
Mahdi spent about two years in the refugee camps of Lesvos, where he joined the association for a year to share his knowledge in the practice of K1 with other residents.
He is now living in Berlin where he continues to box regularly.
“When I work out, I get rid of the negative energy. Afterwards, even if there is fighting, drinking, drugs, or noise at the camp when I’m trying to sleep, my body is so relaxed.
This is my family. People come together to keep up their motivation and energy.
My team stays in touch even though they’ve left the island. We follow each other on Instagram and send pictures on Whatsapp. Wherever they go, they send pictures and ask how things are at the camp. We talk about how nice it would be to practice together. We’re friends for life.”