LONDON, Aug. 9, 2012 (Xinhua) — Rohullah Nikpah of Afghanistan celebrates after defeating Martin Stamper of Britain during the bronze medal match of men’s -68kg Taekwondo event at London 2012 Olympic Games, London, Britain, Aug. 9, 2012. Rohullah Nikpah won the match 5-3 and claimed the bronze medal. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)
Nesar Ahmad Bahawi proved to be the star of the Olympics for Afghanistan and Afghans all over the world by continuing to fight despite his serious injury. You did not win a medal this time, but you certainly won many hearts. Proud of you!
Afghanistan won their first summer Olympic medal during the 2008 Beijing games, with Rohullah Nikpai winning a bronze in men’s Taekwondo 58 kg and at the 2012 Games with another bronze in the men’s 68 kg taekwondo event. Afghan athlete Nesar Ahmad Bahawi won two silver in Taekwendo in the 2007 World Taekwondo Championships and silver and bronze medal in the 2006 Asian Games.
Nesar Ahmad Bahawi won his first match against his Moroccan opponent. Bahawi was in a lot of pain & serious injury as there are no Physios for Afghanistan’s team. Bahawi seams to be complaining about his team now. Hope he gets his injuries looked at before his next match at 16:45 UK time against Sebastian Eduardo from Argentina.
Nikpai’s final Bronze medal winning fantastic fight.
Amazing fight i recommend everyone to watch it! specially afghans who missed watching it in TV, it will make you feel proud. You can see his leg was hurt yet he continued fighting amazingly. Great game. Great win for afghans.
We won a bronze without even proper trainings at home in a war torn country which give little or not must interest for sports. Specially for women, as they are bashed and belittled for it by the society. Other athletes have a specialists & proper equipments to practice, separate places for each event. While in Afghanistan none of that is available. If things get better and our players got all the support and practice they can get, we can win gold medals not just a bronze. Afghans just have it in them, they are natural born warriors they just need proper training and they can do wonders.
London 2012: Tahmina Kohistani Plays, not as much for the gold medal as for the encouragement of Afghan girls.
For Tahmina Kohistani, the barely controlled chaos of London 2012 must seem positively serene compared to her life at home in Afghanistan, where her daily training sessions are conducted to a soundtrack of catcalls from hundreds of abusive men.
Whenever the sprinter trains for the 100 metres at Kabul Stadium, crowds soon appear to jeer and hurl insults at her and question why a woman would even think of taking to the track.
“The people don’t like women to play sport,” Kohistani explains matter-of-factly, leaning forward on her sofa in the athletes’ village cafe.
“The head of the Olympic Committee said no one could come during training but they did anyway. They wanted to disturb me all the time. They were saying ‘can we run with you? Why are you running? It is not good.’
"Some days no one turned up, other days there were 100 or 200 people.”
One day about a month ago the abuse reached a higher pitch than usual and her coach intervened. “What is your problem? Why are you disturbing my athlete?” he asked them. Then a brawl broke out.
It was too much for Kohistani who realised the men were right, her Olympic dream was madness.
“I just decided ‘I’m going to stop everything, I am not coming back to this stadium. I was faced with very dangerous people.”
But this submission did not last for long.
“Whenever you want to do something you are faced with some challenges and some problems,” she says.
“There is always one person who has started the way. I thought if I stopped maybe whenever the other girls come they would also get stopped. I should face up to this problem and change something in my society.”
This experience of ongoing warfare still colours Kohistani.
“Right now in my country every day there are bomb blasts, there is killing – it is very important for me to represent a country that has lots of problems like this.
"All the world thinks we just want war and we don’t do our best for peace but it’s not right. We need freedom, we love freedom.”
That is not the only message she hopes to deliver over the next fortnight. She is also determined to encourage more women to follow her out of the home.
“In Afghanistan, society for women is not good,” she says. “They don’t have time to think about themselves.
"All the time they just put their attention into their husband, their children, their house. I am going to do this for the women of Afghanistan.”
The other five, male, members of the country’s Olympics team have welcomed her, but even so, “sometimes when they are sitting together, I feel very absent because I am the only girl”. This is why she will not feel proud of competing in the Games until her country fields more than one woman.
Changing this, she says, is more important to her than winning a medal. Which is probably just as well, given that her personal best is 13.95sec and she qualifies for the Games under the International Olympic Committee’s universality programme to encourage more women to compete.
Afghan runner hopes Olympics will help women’s sport
Afghanistan’s only female athlete at the London Olympics, Tahmina Kohistani, on Tuesday expressed hope that her presence will help women practising sport in her country.
The 23-year-old sprinter is one of six athletes from the war-torn country present at the London Games, which open on Friday.
She competes with long trousers, long sleeves and a head scarf.
Her personal best of 13.40 seconds makes it unlikely that she will progress from the heats, but just being there is a strong statement, as like in some other Muslim countries it is difficult for women in Afghanistan to practice sports.
"I know getting a medal in the Olympics is very difficult, but I am here to open a new way for the women of Afghanistan," she told the Olympic news service.
"Coming to the Olympics was one of my dreams. It’s more than eight years that I am running. This is my first Games and I am the only girl to represent Afghanistan in athletics.
"In Afghanistan it is different from here in London. Every day I have to face a lot of problems when I go to training. All along there have been people who wanted to disturb me, to stop me.
"In my society there is no sport for females. My people do not accept sport for women; they think sport is not good for them."
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