Iranian women practice parkour in Tehran's Tavalod Park, on March 13, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)
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In a Tehran park, a group of young women brave sneering men and shocked looks as they perform flips, midair somersaults and bound from pillar to pillar in a surprising sight in such a conservative country.The group has discovered parkour, the fast-moving sport blending acrobatics and gymnastics that has become their outlet for evading social constraints and dealing with stress.Sedighian Rad and some 50 women – teenagers and young adults – are among the hundreds of Iranians practicing this noncompetitive discipline that morphed from military obstacle course training into a mainly urban sport.Three times a week, Sedighian Rad trains her groups at three indoor sports complexes.Apart from the risk of injury in this hard-knock sport, the women also brave derision in a country where mixed activities are banned.
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