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Rome embraces the Afghan women’s cycling team: “A rescue operation in the spirit of Tikkun Olam”

Students, journalists, and activists are most at risk in Taliban Afghanistan. But female athletes are no less so as women and sports practitioners. Less than a year ago, an operation promoted by the International Cycling Union per the direction of Sylvan Adams – the philanthropist at the head of Israel Premier Tech, the first Israeli professional team recently protagonist at the Tour de France – had allowed the rescue of a few hundred Afghan citizens in danger for their lives.
However, not everyone could reach Europe on schedule, remaining stuck in Islamabad for nine months. A “bureaucratic” block that finally was overcome. After a long wait and an incredibly difficult journey, a group of 70 refugees, many of whom are female athletes and cyclists, landed last week in Rome and were subsequently transferred to the Italian Southern region of Abruzzo.
At their arrival, they were greeted, among others, by Adams himself. “I am Jewish and guided by the ancient cultural imperative of ‘Tikkun Olam’: the Jewish concept of repairing the world. It is what guided us in Rwanda, where we adopted a women’s team and plan to build a bike center. We hope to see Afghan athletes get a chance to thrive and emerge”.
The initiative took place thanks to the “humanitarian corridors” activated by the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, the Waldensian Church, Arci, Italian Caritas, IOM, INMP, and UNHCR. Deputy Minister Marina Sereni was also present.