The athlete of the Afghan delegation Zakia Khudadadi who was to participate in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in taekwondo is stranded in Kabul because of the seizure of power by the Taliban. She was to become the first Afghan to represent her country at the Paralympic Games.
Originally from Herat province (the first that the Taliban took over), she left her parents to be able to train in Kabul. When the Taliban took Kabul, she took refuge with distant relatives but cannot safely go out to train, shop or check in with relatives, the Washington Post reports.
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The 23-year-old said on Wednesday August 18 in a video that she feels like a burden on a family of ten who don’t have enough food for their own children.
“I ask all of you, as an Afghan woman and representative of Afghan women, to help me […] My intention is to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, please reach out to me and help me […] I urge all of you, women around the world, women’s protection institutions, all government organizations, not to allow the Paralympic movement rights to be taken away so easily from an Afghan citizen. “
She ends by adding that she has accomplished too much for her fight to remain in vain. Afghan Paralympic Mission Chief Arian Sadiqi, who managed to exchange voice messages with the taekwondist, told Australian broadcast group ABC that she was in tears.
Another stuck athlete
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced on Monday August 16 that the two athletes who made up the country’s delegation could not participate in the Paralympic Games which will begin next week, due to the chaos in Afghanistan.
Zakia Khudadadi has only one working arm and Hossain Rasouli lost his left hand due to a mine. The two athletes, respectively engaged in taekwondo and track and field, were due to arrive in Japan on August 17. “All the airports are closed and it will be impossible for them to leave for Tokyo”, said Craig Spence, CIP’s communications manager.
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“I saw the video message. Seeing what is happening in Afghanistan and the dreams of one of our athletes, it’s really sad and it breaks my heart ”, said the president of the CIP. Andrew Parsons added that the committee would work with the Afghan delegation to help them realize their dream, including with a postponement to the Paris 2024 Games. ” too early “ to discuss it, he added.
“It’s something that goes well, well, well, far beyond sport. We are concerned with Afghanistan by first considering its people, especially women. First of all, I think this nation must determine its own destiny. “
“A message of coexistence”
No comments were made on possible assistance to Afghan Paralympic athletes. “We hope that the team and its management will stay safe during this difficult period”, contented Craig Spence.
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A week ago, the chef de mission of the delegation Arian Sadiqi hoped that the Paralympic Games offered a chance “To deliver a message of coexistence to humanity”.
The MEAWW website reveals that the young athlete was inspired by two-time bronze medalist Rohullah Nikpai, an Afghan taekwondist who rose to the podium weighing less than 58 kg in Beijing in 2008 and then under 68 kg in London in 2012.
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The Taliban told reporters at their first official press conference in Kabul on Tuesday that they would respect women’s rights under Islamic law.