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Laureus World Sports Awards, Best Sporting Moment August nominees: Meet the skiers from Afghanistan

Sajjad Husaini, 25, and Ali Shah Farhang, 26, are from the mountainous Afghan province of Bamyan, famed for its ancient Buddha statues that were blown up by the Taliban in 2001.

Afghan skiers Alisha Farhang (L) and Sajjad Husaini pose for a picture prior to a press conference at the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz on February 15, 2017 / AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghan skiers Alisha Farhang (L) and Sajjad Husaini at the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St Moritz. Getty Images

As children, Husaini and Farhang fled to Iran with their families to escape the violence in their own country. They returned as young adults just as the Bamyan Ski Club was established in 2011.

Lugging borrowed skis on their shoulders, they trekked up the Bamyan mountains and taught themselves to ski down.

After winning three national championships in Afghanistan, the pair has been training as slalom skiers in Switzerland for three winters.

Despite their lack of experience, both skiers qualified for the Alpine Skiing World Championships in St Moritz in February. They advanced to the semi-finals after competing in four rounds of qualifying races in the giant slalom, against competitors from more than 70 countries.

"This was the first time Afghanistan was represented in the winter championships, and we are proud to be ice-breakers," said Farhang.

Now the pair of skiers are training for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea in the hope of becoming the first people from war-torn Afghanistan to compete in the Winter Olympics.

This heartwarming tale has consequently become one of the nominees for Laureus' 'Best Sporting Moment of the Year' Award. To vote for your favourite video, visit

The Laureus World Sports Awards, instituted in 2000, honour athletes and teams which have risen to the pinnacle of sporting excellence. Out of the nine categories of awards, the only Laureus award to be voted for by fans around the world in a global online poll is the Laureus Best Sporting Moment of the Year. The award is conferred to the defining moment of the year that resonated the most with sports fans around the world. Shortlisted by the members, these moments symbolise the true values of sport and bring to life the message that sport has power to change the world.

Fans can choose their favourite moment on the 1st of each month, from August to December, from a panel of six shortlisted video clips. The five monthly winners will then compete against each other in another global public vote, with the eventual winner being announced at the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards.

Updated Date: Aug 22, 2017 14:10 PM

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