Sports

These girls redefine what it means to play like a girl. And they're crushing it

Being a girl who loves sports isn't always easy. But that's not stopping 8-year-old Evnika Saadvakass from Kazakhstan, who became a YouTube sensation two years ago. More than three million viewers have since watched as she spars like a champion with her dad.

Evnika's father Rustam Saadvakass says on his YouTube channel, "Imagine if there was this kind of professional training tool for kids in our childhood like Evnika, and our parents since our childhood introduce to us it ... how much we would be able to shine." Those kind of role models are what we've been finding over at our Teach Her series, where we're highlighting women and girls learning, teaching and changing the world. And that includes all kinds of sports.

We featured an op-ed this week by 22-year-old Skateistan education coordinator Shabana Saidali in Kabul, Afghanistan. She described her experience starting out and eventually teaching skateboarding in Afghanistan.

"Each day Skateistan encouraged me to work with people from different backgrounds," she wrote. "I am very thankful that Skateistan gave me the opportunity to be involved with Afghan youth and to be part of their life and understand their problems."

We also heard from French filmmaker Marion Poizeau about her efforts to introduce surfing to boys and girls in Iran. Her film "Into the Sea" documents the small surf school she and two Iranian women started in remote Baluchistan, on the southeastern coast of Iran. But surfing isn't the only non-traditional sport girls are picking up in Iran.

These Iranian girls are embracing parkour, a sport that involves negotiating obstacles (often in urban environments) by running, jumping and climbing. And they're doing it all in hijabs.

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