Afghan Paralympic Taekwondo Player Makes it to Japan
August 30 | 2021
The International Paralympic Committee confirmed on Saturday that Afghan women's taekwondo competitor Zakia Khudadadi, along with track athlete Hossain Rasouli, have arrived safely in Tokyo and will be competing in their respective sports at the ongoing Paralympic Games. It had seemed the pair, Afghanistan's only scheduled participants, would not be able to get to Japan when, earlier this month, their nation fell to the Taliban in the wake of American withdrawal.
But nearly two weeks ago Khudadadi aroused worldwide sympathies with a moving video message detailing her plight being a virtual captive in her home and asking for help on behalf of all Afghan women. Her plea ignited international action by several human rights groups, as well as the French and British Paralympic Associations and World Taekwondo, who helped spirit Khudadadi and Rasouli out of the country and bring them to Japan. On Thursday, Khudadadi is scheduled to be the first Afghan woman to compete at the Paralympics since 2004 when she fights in the women's 49 kg taekwondo competition.
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