— Published 30 August 2021

The two Afghan athletes are in Tokyo

Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli

Surprise at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. The two Afghan athletes who were supposed to be part of their country’s delegation, but were prevented from reaching Japan after the Taliban cancelled all commercial flights from Kabul, were finally able to reach the Japanese capital. Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli, respectively involved in taekwondo and athletics, arrived in Tokyo on Saturday, August 28th. They will be able to take part in their events. “The Afghan Paralympic team, represented by Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli, arrived in the Japanese capital on Saturday, ready to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games,” the IPC said in a statement. The two Afghans were evacuated from Kabul on Monday, August 23rd, the day before the opening ceremony. But, contrary to the information given by an Australian channel, they did not go to Australia but to France. “This week, the athletes rested and trained in Paris at the Institut national d’expertise et de performance sportives (INSEP),” the IPC statement said. At INSEP, they received clothing and psychological support. After their extended stay in Paris, which was kept secret by all parties involved, the two Afghans were able to fly to Japan, where they were transferred to the athletes’ village upon arrival. Taekwondo athlete Zakia Khudadadi will compete in the Under 49kg (K44 category) on Thursday, September 2nd. Athlete Hossain Rasouli will compete the following day in the 400m elimination rounds (T47 category). He has also been entered in an additional event, the long jump (T47 category), scheduled for Tuesday, August 31st.