New Delhi, August 17 (IANS) Afghanistan’s Paralympic team will not take part in the Tokyo Games next week because they are trapped in the country, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) confirmed.
Only two para-athletes from Afghanistan were scheduled to compete in the games-taekwondo player Zakia Khudadadi and the outdoor star Hossain Rasouli. The 23-year-old Zakia was to be the first woman ever to represent Afghanistan at the Paralympics.
“Unfortunately, the NPC (National Paralympic Committee) Afghanistan will no longer participate in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games,” IPC spokesman Craig Spence was quoted as saying by aljazeera.com.
“Due to the serious ongoing situation in the country, all airports are closed and there is no way for them to travel to Tokyo.”
This is the first time Afghanistan will not be represented at the Paralympics since the Sydney Games in 2000 – when the country was banned from competing due to the Taliban’s oppressive treatment of women.
“It was a dream for NPC Afghanistan to participate in Tokyo 2020, but with these unfortunate circumstances it is close to impossible,” Afghanistan’s Paralympic Committee chief of Mission Arian Sadiqi, based in London, said on Twitter.
Taliban forces have crossed major cities and now control most of Afghanistan. The hardline Islamist movement was rejected in 2001, but has regained control of the country as foreign forces, led by the United States, withdrew.
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