Behind the scenes: #TeamAfghanistan makes major progress at Spain training
July 16, 2019: This training camp has been emotional, but worthwhile, and really it was because of the kindness of strangers. So many people have played a part in the story of She Can Tri. It is really a beautiful thing when the best of humanity comes together.
When I wrote that in my journal I was reminiscing about how three of my Afghan athletes and I ended up in the south of Spain — the months of anxiety hoping the visas would come through, the two days we spent flying to get there, and the love of people from around the globe to support us in our journey.
The planning of the training in Europe started back in January when Team Afghanistan met the triathlon camp owners during their training in Dubai. The lovely couple had seen a facebook post I had written and reached out. They were literally on their way to the airport as we were flying in, but we had arranged to meet for coffee as soon as we landed. Within an hour of knowing us they invited us into their beautiful home in Spain. Janice and Julio, the owners of Los Olivos, are simply amazing people.
Because of them the Afghan women accomplished some major milestones on their road to the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
While in Spain the Afghan women got on road bikes and swam in open water for the first time.
“I just started swimming six months ago. Before that I had never even tried swimming. At first I kept thinking I was never going to be able to move in the water, so every night I started to watch videos online about swimming for beginners and would take what I learned to practice each week. Today, I cannot believe how far I have come, and I not only have more confidence in the water, but feel I can also tackle other things that seem impossible.” -Zeinab, Team Afghanistan
Apart from training the women also sat down with the mayor and counselor of sports and youth for the town of Alcala la Real.
We felt beyond supported during our entire stay, not just from the people in Spain, but from the triathlon community worldwide. We even had a volunteer from our fundraising team in Belgium come help out.
A huge shout out to everyone that made this training possible - it is nice to know we are not alone in our fight.
The finish line for these Afghan women is not just about proving something to themselves. They are proving to their country that women can accomplish amazing things when they put their mind to it. They are showing men and women as equals on and off the playing field. Training for the IRONMAN 70.3 is about more than triathlon – these brave women will be racing for equality.
-Jackie Faye, She Can Tri founder