On a pristine volleyball court on the seventh floor of a massive training center in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, a team of Afghan women prepare for their first Asian Games in defiance of the Taliban government's antipathy toward women's sports.

Though separated from their families and scattered across Asia, the volleyball players have assembled at the multisport event with the support of Olympic officials and the sport's global federation.

Some fled Afghanistan when the Taliban came to power after the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021, fearing persecution from a government that has effectively banned women's sports.