The Olympics are all about beating the odds, and few athletes have overcome more than one young woman from a war-torn nation.
Sadaf Rahimi will become the first female boxer to fight for Afghanistan in the Olympics. That's even more impressive when you consider her country doesn't exactly have a strong recent history of equal rights for women. During Taliban rule (1996-2001), women weren't allowed to work, leave the house without a male escort or have medical work done by a male doctor. That doesn't even include being forced to wear burqas that covered them from head to toe.
Rahimi wasn't allowed by the Taliban to play sports as a child. But she was inspired by an American boxing icon's daughter to enter the ring.
At the age of 14, Rahimi learned about Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali's daughter. "It made me realize a woman can do this," she told the London Guardian through an interpreter.
Now four years later, at age 18, Rahimi is well aware many in Afghanistan don't believe women should be boxing. "Many people think girls should stay at home," she told the Guardian. "My aunt was not happy at all that her niece should be doing this sport. Some people are not happy that I do this type of sport. They look at me badly."
Violence has been threatened. The Guardian reports the Rahimi's father has faced several threats because he allowed his daughters to fight.
Yet the young woman's family has embraced the sport. Her older sister is also a boxer. The sisters were featured in a documentary called "The Boxing Girls of Kabul."
Rahimi will fight in China this May, then, thanks to a special wild card, she'll go to the London 2012 Olympics. In order to prepare for the games, Rahimi has been training in England for the last month. Her home country's training facility doesn't even have a boxing ring -- nor does Rahimi have a sparring partner.
Rahimi tells the Guardian she'd like to attend college after the Olympics and plans to become a journalist.
The Afghanistan Olympic team is expected to consist of five athletes, with Rahimi being the only woman competing.
Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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