Enthusiasm for motocross is growing among Afghan youths who want to compete internationally but say costs are prohibitive.
Kabul got its first and only official motocross track in 2016. The national motocross team has 31 members, including a young woman.
The Afghanistan Motorcycling Federation, which was established in 2015, has 630 members -- including 10 women --in 15 provinces. The women members are only in Kabul.
Officials of the motorcycling federation, which operates under the national Olympic committee, said the government has not allocated a budget for them so far.
Samiullah Sadat, a member of the national motocross team, said he has attended a few competitions abroad.
“An Afghan athlete pays for everything out of his own budget, from motorbike to clothes or helmet, even the everyday expenses,” Sadat said.
“The motorbikes are expensive. The federation cannot afford the expenses. Everyone pays from their own budget,” said Sayed Shafiullah Hashemi, a member of the national motocross team.
Women motocross riders said the sport is getting popular among girls.
“Like other athletes and I wish to attend international events and win medals for my country,” said Negin, a motocross rider.
“The sport that we have started is different for women. It is a sport that needs more courage and an Afghan girl has that courage and we are ready to take the first steps,” said Freshta, a motocross rider.
The head of the motorcycling federation, Sayed Nabiullah Sadat, said the sport needs to be supported by the government in order for it to bring achievements to the country.
“Our request to the Presidential Palace is to approve a motorcycling federation because we are conducting this interesting sport with our own budget for years. Our problems will increase day by day if the approval is delayed,” Sadat said.