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The team was established by the Afghan Olympic Committee in 2007 and so far has registered more than two dozen female boxers.

Rahimi, who fights in the 54-kilogram (118.8 pounds) weight class, will get into the Olympics through a wild card berth. She plans to travel to London on Feb. 19 to train for several weeks. In May she will fight in a competition in China, but win or lose there, she will be at the Olympics in London.

Sadaf Rahimi is the only girl who will participate in these games,” Sharifi said. “She will represent all Afghan women, which makes her the biggest female personality in Afghanistan.”

Things have been much easier for male athletes in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s first Olympic medal winner was Rohullah Nikpai, who won a bronze medal in men’s taekwondo in 2008, defeating rivals from Germany, England and Spanish world champion Juan Antonio Ramos at the Beijing Games.

Because of insecurity in Afghanistan, his family fled to Iran where he grew up. He returned to Afghanistan in 2004 — four years after the Taliban government collapsed. After participating in Beijing, he became a symbol of national pride.

“In the 2008 Olympics, I won a bronze medal and I am hopeful to win a gold medal in the Olympic 2012 in London,” Nikpai said.

Two other male athletes will round out the foursome who will represent Afghanistan in this year’s games. Massoud Azizi, a 25-year-old, 100-meter sprinter who competed in 2008 in Beijing, and Nasar Ahmad Bahawi, another taekwondo fighter.

“The people are expecting a lot from us. We know we will face the hardest opponents,” said Bahawi, who practices inside a newly built gym at the sports stadium under the supervision of a foreign coach and Afghan trainer. “We have the prayers of our people, and God willing, we will do well.”