Afghanistan's first Olympic medallist eyes an encore

Updated: 23 July 2012 17:02 IST

Afghanistan's first Olympic medallist Rohullah Nikpai has vowed to bring more laurels for his country at the London Games beginning from Friday.

Afghanistan's first Olympic medallist eyes an encore
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Kabul:

Afghanistan's first Olympic medallist Rohullah Nikpai has vowed to bring more laurels for his country at the London Games beginning from Friday.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, taekwondo star Rohullah Nikpa said he and the other Afghan athletes were determined to bring honours for the country at the Summer Games.

"I wish good luck for my fellow Afghan athletes so that we can again earn the respect and recognition of the international community," Nikpa said.

Nikpa made history by bagging a bronze in Beijing four years ago for the post-Taliban Afghanistan.

A six-member Afghan team, including one female athlete, will compete in London.

The team consists of Nikpa and Nisar Ahmad Bahawi in taekwondo; Masoud Azizi and Tahmina Kohistani in long-distance running; Aimal Faisal in boxing and Ajma Faizi Zada in judo.

The team left for London Friday and was sent off at the Kabul International Airport by several sports officials and fans.

Sports officials said that they were hopeful the Afghan team can bring a couple of medals from London.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had suspended Afghanistan's membership in 1999 due to Taliban's brutal policies that included restrictions on the country's sportsmen and athletes.

The IOC lifted the suspension in 2002 after the collapse of the Taliban regime.

The Taliban fundamentalist regime, which was toppled from power by the US-led military campaign in late 2001, had outlawed a series of sports activities aside from forcing athletes to grow long beard and wear tall shirts and trousers during matches.

Since the collapse of Taliban regime, the athletes have already attended several competitions at regional and international level.

"I ask our countrymen to pray for the success of our small team in the London," team member Nisar Ahmad Bahawi said.

Topics : Taekwondo Olympics 2012
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