In Focus: Afghanistan Bodybuilders as presented by: Denver Post

Bodybuilding has grown into a very popular sport in Afghanistan in a country where men like the image of being physically strong. It is affordable for most Afghans and its popularity is growing in many provinces since the fall of the Taliban. Photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger are still hanging in many local gyms as their iconic image of a muscle bound male. In 2002 the first bodybuilding competitions resumed after the fall of the Taliban, enabling the men to shave and wear only their competition suits. Under the Taliban, bodybuilders were not allowed to train without being fully dressed in traditional Afghan clothing and the annual Mr. Afghanistan contest was banned as sportsmen were forbidden to appear partially naked in public. The competition, which takes place at an old cinema in the Shahr-e Naw section of Kabul, is the culmination of all body building events around the country and has a loyal all-male following. Under the Taliban, bodybuilders were not allowed to train without being fully dressed in traditional Afghan clothing and the annual Mr. Afghanistan contest was banned as sportsmen were forbidden to appear partially naked in public.

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