KABUL -- Women of Faryab Province now have a gym where they can improve their fitness and health under the instruction of female trainers.
The privately owned fitness centre in Gozar Afghankut District of Maimana, the provincial capital, is the first in the province solely for women. It can accommodate up to 30 women at a time and is open 24 hours a day.
Local officials and social activists welcomed the opening of the gym July 3.
"We are joyful and proud that our women can exercise at such a fitness centre," said Shah Wali Parsa, chief of the provincial Sports Department, according to TOLO News.
Mohammad Zaman Faizi, a karate master, paid for the gym with his own money, while his wife, Sewita, is the director of the fitness centre.
"The club has been set up ... for women to train and enhance their health and well being," Sewita Faizi told Salaam Times.
"The centre has highly advanced and modern equipment ... purchased in Kabul," she said, adding that all the equipment is designed specifically for women "to help them with goals like fitness, weight loss and reduction of bad cholesterol".
"For many years, my wife and I have been thinking about finding a way to do something for women ... in Faryab with sports," Mohammad Faizi told Salaam Times. "Fortunately, our dreams came true, and we were able to establish the first private sports club for women in Maimana."
"If this gymnasium doesn't face any problems or [receive] negative reaction from some families ... then we are determined to increase its capacity ... so that it can accommodate 100 athletes at any given time," he said.
Women eager to go
The location and operational conditions for the gym were determined based on advice and supervision from local elders, said Shah Mohammad Najwa, chairman of the Gozar Afghankut village council.
"This gymnasium offers the best context for friendship among women of Maimana and can build good relationships among them and the families of this city," Najwa told Salaam Times.
Dressed in sportswear, Mahnaz Karimi, one of the women who attended the opening ceremony for the gym July 3, said she is eager to use the new facility.
"With the opening of this gym, girls in Maimana can come to this club and exercise with peace of mind," she told Salaam Times.
Karimi said she used to be overweight and always wished a women's gym would be established in the province.
"Now, this amenity is provided for us," she said. "Other women in this city can ... come and join the club in order to exercise for their health and fitness."