Afghan Athletes Will Miss Tokyo Paralympics Due to Turmoil at Home
After US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, the situation is deteriorating and people are in danger.
After the takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban, the country has gone into a state of turmoil and while all citizens have been deeply affected by the developments, two young sportspersons' Paralympics dreams have been ended with no way for them to reach Tokyo.
When taekwondo fighter Zakia Khudadadi was picked with discus thrower Hossain Rasouli in a two-person Afghanistan contingent, she was set to become the country's first female Paralympian. However, it was reported on Monday that neither athlete was able to fly out of the country on their planned flight and will thus miss the big event.
Arian Sadiqi, the Afghan chef de mission, said Khudadadi and Rasouli will arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday. “Unfortunately due to the current upheaval going on in Afghanistan the team could not leave Kabul in time,” he told Reuters.
According to Sadiqi, the players attempted to book flights but were unable to do so when costs skyrocketed as the Taliban seized control of a number of cities.
“They were really excited prior to the situation. They were training wherever they could, in the parks and back gardens,” Sadiqi said.
“This would have been the first female Afghan taekwondo player to take part. This was history in the making. She was very passionate to compete. Zakia would have been a great role model for the rest of the females in the country," he added.
As the Taliban seeks to retake control of Afghanistan, there are grave concerns about the future of women's rights. Following the withdrawal of American soldiers, forces have stormed through a number of cities in recent days.
“There was a lot of progress [in recent decades], both in the Olympics and the Paralympics,” Sadiqi said.
“At the national level there was a lot of participants, a lot of athletes … but we can only predict from what happened in the past.”
“Previously during the Taliban era people couldn’t compete, couldn’t participate, especially female athletes. For me, it’s heartbreaking," he concluded.
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