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Afghanistan's first female breakdancer ready for Olympic dream

MADRID : Three years after she fled Afghanistan so she could dedicate her life to the new Olympic sport of breaking, Manizha Talash is preparing to compete in the Paris Games as part of the Refugee Team.

For the 21-year-old 'B-Girl' the prospect is bittersweet.

"I would love to go and compete with the Afghan team alongside other girls, but we all know that's just impossible," Talash told Reuters as she got ready to train in a public square in Madrid's Vallecas neighbourhood.

"I'm very happy because a few months ago it was just a dream but now I'm living inside my dream. I can look at myself and say that I'm here, that I've made it."

Breaking, a competitive form of breakdancing that blends artistry and dance with acrobatic moves, will make its debut in the Paris Olympics in July.

Sixteen 'B-Girls' and 16 'B-Boys' will compete in the dance discipline that has its roots in the New York Bronx of the 1970s, bringing a new dimension to the Olympic movement.

"When I saw a video online of a man just spinning over his head ... I immediately told myself: 'That's what I want to do with my life!' and three months later found a gym in Kabul to start training," Talash told Reuters in an interview.

As the only girl among the 56 members of the Superiors Crew, a small but ardent breaking community in Kabul, Talash said it was not only her family members who disapproved of her new passion. She started receiving death threats as the word spread about Afghanistan's first B-Girl.

Many conservative Afghans frown on dancing of any description, and even more vehemently object to a woman's public participation - some of them violently.

"We received three bomb threats to our club and, after the police came and arrested a man who was planning to attack