Zakia Khudadadi was trapped in Kabul, and she will be the first woman to represent Afghanistan in the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Zakia Khudadadi was the first woman to represent Afghanistan at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this month, but her dream was shattered in the country’s turmoil.
Only two Paralympic athletes from Afghanistan plan to participate in the Olympic Games that will begin on August 24-taekwondo athlete Zakia Khudadadi and track and field athlete Hossain Rasouli.
Khudadadi, 23, will become the first woman ever to represent Afghanistan in the Paralympics.
But the International Paralympic Committee confirmed on Monday that with the Taliban’s takeover, the two athletes will no longer be able to travel to Japan.
“Unfortunately, the Afghan National Paralympic Games will no longer participate in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games,” said IPC spokesperson Craig Spence.
“Due to the serious current situation in the country, all airports are closed and they cannot go to Tokyo.”
There is no word on whether IPC was asked to try to assist team members, or was working hard to do so.
The US military has taken over air traffic control at Kabul Airport. Five people were killed in chaotic scenes on Monday. There were reports of aerial fires and stampedes.
Taliban fighters have occupied the main cities and now control most of Afghanistan. The organization was overthrown in 2001, but with the withdrawal of foreign troops led by the United States, extensive military gains have been made in recent months.
Arian Sadic, head of the Afghan Paralympic Committee in London, told Reuters that he was originally scheduled to fly to Japan on Monday, and that the team-Kudadadi and Rasuli-was originally scheduled for August. Arrived in Tokyo on the 17th.
Taekwondo athlete Kudadadi was introduced on the Paralympic Games website last week to talk about her hopes for the Olympics.
“After learning that I had a wild card to participate in the Olympics, I was very excited,” said a 23-year-old player from Herat.
“This is the first time a female athlete has represented Afghanistan in the Olympic Games, and I am very happy,” she said at the time.
Sadic said athletes have been struggling to get flights, but as the Taliban took over a series of cities, prices soared.
Then it becomes impossible.
“Before this happened, they were really excited. They trained as much as possible in the park and back garden,” he said.
The future of sports in Afghanistan looks bleak
An Afghan athlete participated in the 1996 Paralympic Games for the first time, but never won a medal.
Rohullah Nikpai became the first Olympic medalist of any sport in Afghanistan after winning the bronze medal in taekwondo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, repeating this feat of the 2012 London Olympics.
Sadic said that the future of Afghan athletes looks bleak, if the past can pass.
“There has been a lot of progress in the Olympics and Paralympics,” he said of recent decades. “At the national level, there are a lot of participants, a lot of athletes… but we can only make predictions based on what happened in the past.
“In the Taliban era, people couldn’t compete, couldn’t participate, especially female athletes.
“For me, it’s heartbreaking,” he said. “This will be the first Afghan female Taekwondo player to participate. This is a history that is forming. She is very happy to participate. She is passionate about the competition.