Afghan Athlete Pleading for Help to Attend Tokyo Paralympics

Society Sports Tokyo 2020

Tokyo, Aug. 20 (Jiji Press)--An athlete in Afghanistan, which is now under the control of the Taliban, is seeking support for her to leave the country and attend the Tokyo Paralympics, set to kick off Tuesday.

Zakia Khudadadi, one of the two Afghan athletes qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics, has been stranded in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, due to the ongoing instability in the country.

The International Paralympic Committee has suggested that the Afghan athletes would be unable to participate in the Games. Khudadadi has not given up, however. "I'm not losing hope yet. I still have hope that somebody out there will help," Khudadadi said in a message sent to the Afghanistan Paralympic Committee, according to a report by Australian Broadcasting Corp.

She was chosen to compete in taekwondo, which will make its Paralympic debut at the Tokyo Games. Amid the major upheaval in Afghanistan, Khudadadi is afraid of the possibility of Taliban finding her to be an athlete, an official of the Afghan committee reportedly said. In the message, Khudadadi said she has been unable to go outside, even for shopping, without feeling insecure.

A native of Herat in the western part of Afghanistan, Khudadadi started practicing taekwondo after she was inspired by a male taekwondo athlete who won the first Olympic medal for Afghanistan in the 2008 Beijing Games.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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