Afghan Warrior Signs Up

Seventeen-year-old Afghan refugee Omar Slaimankhel has signed a two-year contract with the Vodafone Warriors and “after surviving the kind of dangers his family has endured, playing rugby league must seem like a stroll in the park,” writes Steve Kilgallon for The Sydney Morning Herald. Omar’s family found refuge in New Zealand when he was three. That period of torment has opened up a life of opportunity for Omar, who hails from a family that is now something of an unlikely sporting dynasty. Omar’s uncle was a 100m sprint champion in Pakistan. His cousin, Khalid, is a champion bodybuilder and powerlifter preparing for the Australasian championships next month. His older brother, Sabir, has also been a competitive weightlifter and played premier rugby in Otago. Omar has four brothers, while Khalid is one of six and almost all of them have played in first XVs. The NRL believes he’s the first Afghan to become a professional league player. He says with a laugh: “I reckon I’d be the first Afghan professional sportsman.”


Tags: New Zealand Warriors  Omar Slaimankhel  Rugby League  Sydney Morning Herald (The)  

How Middle-Distance Runner Nick Willis Trains

How Middle-Distance Runner Nick Willis Trains

New Zealander Nick Willis, 39, “who has been at the sharp end of middle-distance running for over two decades”, speaks to the UK’s Athletics Weekly magazine about how he trains in…