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Afghan sports coach says she will flee after dog shot dead

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Sahba Barakzai, and her dog Aseman out for a walkImage copyright
Sahba Barakzai

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Sahba Barakzai loved her dog, a seven-month-old Siberian husky named Aseman

Sahba Barakzai, her family and seven-month-old husky Aseman, tried to get out into the mountains near their home in western Afghanistan every Friday.

But last Friday, the hike turned to tragedy after an unidentified group of men approached the family and shot Sahba’s beloved puppy dead.

The attackers told her a woman could not own a dog.

But Sabha fears this may have been something more – that it may have been to do with her teaching girls sport.

“We still don’t know about their goal but we think it is because of her career,” her sister Setayesh told the BBC. “She was the first woman who has her own club and these things are taboo.”

Sahba was used to threats – she had been teaching karate to children in Herat, Afghanistan’s third largest city, for 10 years.

She had also set up a cycling club for teenage and young girls – a very public sport in a country where, less than two decades ago, women were banned from going to school, working or even leaving the house without a male chaperone.

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Sahba Barakzai

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Sahba named her dog Aseman, which means sky, because of her blue eyes

It is, Setayesh says, still taboo for girls to ride bikes in Herat and some of the community initially reacted aggressively, but her sister was determined to persist.

“The main inspiration was the situation of women in Herat because she herself is an active person in community,” Setayesh explained.

“[Our parents] were completely worried because her life is in danger – and we saw by our own eyes last week.”

Warning: This article contains a graphic image

Indeed, last week’s tragedy has left them all shaken. Sahba had set out with her father and two sisters, including Setayesh, along with Aseman.

The Siberian husky, whose name means “sky”, a nod to her blue eyes, had only joined the family a few months earlier, but was clearly much loved. Pictures show her playing in the snow, cuddling up to children at the club and walking with Sahba in the hills – just like they were on Friday.

“We were just walking, picnicking and everything as usual,” Sahba told the BBC. “We go there almost every week but that time was different.”

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Sahba Barakzai

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Sahba has dedicated the last decade to teaching children in Herat

About two hours into the hike, a man looking like a shepherd approached the group and shot at Aseman.

“I shouted and ran towards Aseman and requested the man not to fire,” Sahba told Afghan news agency Khaama. “The gunman did not care, and shot four bullets in Aseman’s chest.”

The shots were fatal: sobbing, Sahba took Aseman in her arms and began to run towards the car.

But then the gunman, who had been joined by several other men, fired another shot, and demanded she put the dog down and leave her body with them. As a woman, he told Sahba, she had no right to keep a dog.

The family had no choice but to leave Aseman with the men, and flee. They don’t know who the men were, or why they were targeted. Reporting it to the police, Sahba said, would be pointless.

“I knew nothing will happen,” she told Khaama. “Dozens of human beings are killed every day in the country and no one feels responsibility.”

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Sahba Barakzai

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The family took these pictures of Aseman after she was shot dead

The attack has left the entire family shocked, Setayesh said.

“We were really scared. I have never been to such kind of situation before – that was a terrifying memory for all of us.”

But it has left an especially deep wound in Sahba, who decided to shut down her sports clubs – a huge loss for her community – and look into moving across the border, into neighbouring Iran, where she hopes she will be safer.

“Aseman was just like Sabha’s daughter,” Setayesh explained.

Sahba, meanwhile, is trying to pick herself up as she grieves the loss.

“The day that I brought Aseman, I googled that how many years a dog can live and realised every dog can live about 14 years and even more,” she said. “I got upset when I knew Aseman can live just for 14 years with me.

“I have never thought that my sweetie Aseman would live just for seven months and then be killed.”

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Media captionSchools in Achin stood empty for two years – now local girls are back to get an education.

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Mamukelashvili shot at buzzer lifts Seton Hall over Butler | News, Sports, Jobs

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By Tom Canavan
AP Sports Writer

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — With the game tied and less than a second to play, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard had a feeling Butler would be looking for Pirates’ leading scorer Myles Powell to get the ball.
So he called a play Sandro Mamukelashvili, one he had seen a couple of months ago watching the Sacramento Kings on television in the wee hours of the morning.
Mamukelashvili hit an off-balance shot in the lane at the buzzer to give No. 16 Seton Hall a stunning 74-72 victory over No. 21 Butler on Wednesday night.
The game-winning shot came on an inbounds play after the officials reviewed a missed shot by Quincy McKnight and added two tenths of a second, putting 0.6 on the clock.
“The play was to throw it up and have Sandro go get it and hope for a miracle,” Willard said.
Mamukelashvili, who scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half, said he had time to briefly catch the inbounds pass by McKnight and put up it, where it hit the rim and rolled in.
“I don’t know if it was difficult or not. I just shot it,” said the junior from the Republic of Georgia. “At that moment I just wanted to score the basket. Probably it is a difficult shot, but Quincy just threw it so good it made it look easy.”
After being mobbed by his teammates, Mamukelashvili went to the corner and hugged his father, Zurab, who had made the trip overseas to see his son for the first time since May.
“It’s a cancer day and my father is a cancer survivor so it was just great, great,” the power forward said after Seton Hall (19-7, 11-3) ended a two-game losing streak.
Butler (19-7, 7-7) had made three 3-pointers in the final 64 seconds to wipe out a five-point deficit. Sean McDermott hit the last two, tying the game at 72 with 8.8 seconds left.
“Each and every night it’s going to come down to one or two possessions,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said of Big East games. “You know that. It’s my third year and it hasn’t changed.”
Jordan said he brought in 6-foot-10 John-Michael Mulloy to add more size to his lineup, thinking the play would go to 7-foot-2 Romaro Gill. It went to the kid known as ‘Mamu’.
“He just made a great shot,” Jordan said.
McKnight led the Pirates with 18 points. Powell had 16 and Gill 15 points.
Kamar Baldwin had 20 to lead the Bulldogs, while big man Bryce Golden added 17 points before fouling out with 2:19 to play.
McKnight hit a 3-pointer to break a 63-all tie with 1:49 to play and Gill slammed home a dunk with 1:04 to go to make it 68-63.
Jordan Tucker started the run of Butler threes and McDermott answers four free throws by McKnight with his threes to set up the final play.
Butler hit nine of its first 15 shots and opened a 22-12 lead on a 3-pointer by Golden midway through the first half.
Seton Hall, which was limited to 33% shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes managed to get within 34-28 at the half on two free throws by Gill, who led the Pirates nine points.
BIG PICTURE
Butler: Since opening 15-1, the Bulldogs are 4-7 and may fall out of the Top 25. They are an NCAA Tournament team and Baldwin is fun to watch. Still one win from their 20th 20-win season in 24 years.
“I was proud of our guys for their response,” Jordan said of the late comeback. “Never thinking it was over, believing the whole time and stepping up and making big plays.”
Seton Hall: Got back on track after losses to No. 15 Creighton and Providence. They are 4-3 against ranked teams and remain in first place in the Big East.
TIP-INS
This is only the second time in 17 games Butler has lost when leading at halftime. … It’s the ninth time Seton Hall has won after trailing at halftime. … Baldwin has led Butler in scoring in 11 of the last 14 games. … The Pirates shot 57% from the field in the second half, 16 of 28.
UP NEXT
Butler: at No. 15 Creighton on Sunday.
Seton Hall: Faces St. John’s at home Sunday afternoon.


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Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame inducts legacy athletes

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OTTAWA —
The Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame held an induction ceremony Wednesday, paying tribute to some star legacy athletes.

Dave Best, the chair of the Hall, said it plays a special role in Ottawa.

“We have over two hundred and eighty members in it now,” he said. “We honour people who are sport leaders they help celebrate our sporting heritage as a sport leader as an athlete,  a coach as a team builder or a media rep people who have really brought prominence and publicity and cheering to the city.”

Wednesday’s inductees include Jean Beardsley for curling, Eddie Carroll for boxing nad Wilfrid Mathieu for speed skating.

Three teams, including the 1892 Ottawa tug-of-war Canadian champions, were inducted. The Ottawa Senators Stanley Cup winners from 1915 to 1927 and the Ottawa Silver Seven, an original hockey dynasty, were also inducted.

This is the first group of legacy athletes to be honoured and the hall will continue to recognize more in the future.

The Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame is located at 195 Elgin St. and is open to the public free of charge.

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2 Baraga teens found dead in vehicle, a third hospitalized | News, Sports, Jobs

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L’ANSE — Two Baraga County teens were found dead in a car Monday afternoon, while a third is now in a Green Bay hospital.

Baraga County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call of a possible drunk driver at the end of Silver Road in L’Anse Township at approximately 4:15 p.m. Monday, a sheriff’s department press release states.

Two boys, identified as Christopher Turpeinen, age 17, of Pelkie and Dylan Roberts, age 17, of L’Anse were found deceased inside the vehicle, which was running, the release states. A third victim, 17-year-old Hunter Pelon of Baraga, was unconscious. She was taken out of the vehicle and lifesaving measures were initiated, according to the release.

Pelon was transported to Baraga County Memorial Hospital by Bay Ambulance and was later transferred to a hospital in Green Bay. Law enforcement officials said Pelon was in stable condition on Tuesday.

The two male victims were pronounced dead at the scene by the medical examiner, officials said.

While the cause of death is unknown at this time, the release states, asphyxiation is suspected. Autopsies have been scheduled and the case remains under investigation.

Bay Ambulance and the Keweenaw Bay Tribal Police assisted at the scene.

L’Anse Area Public Schools confirmed in a Facebook post that the three victims were students there.

The post states that community social workers and counselors would provide services at the school to support students and staff. Additional counseling services will continue to be available if needed, the post stated.



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