Afghan athlete Hossain Rasouli finally got the chance to compete in the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Tuesday.
Most important points:
- Hossain Rasouli competed in the T47 men’s long jump in Tokyo
- He and fellow athlete Zakia Khudadadi only arrived in Tokyo on Saturday
- They were evacuated from Afghanistan last week
Rasouli and teammate Zakia Khudadadi only arrived in Tokyo on Saturday after being evacuated from Kabul.
They arrived a week late and since then the two-man Afghan team has been locked up in the Paralympic village for privacy and security reasons.
They also refused to speak to the media before or after the events.
Hossain is primarily a sprinter, but arrived late for his event. So he tried the long jump in the T47 class, his only event at the Tokyo Games.
Predictably, he finished last in the 13-man competition with a jump of 4.46 metres. The winning effort was 7.46m from Cuban Robiel Yankiel Sol Cervantes.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) spokesman Craig Spence said he spoke to Rasouli on Monday but declined to share much information.
“He was super excited to participate,” Spence said.
“He had done the long jump before, but it was his first long jump in a big competition. It was a very special occasion.
“That’s as much as I’ll say.”
Khudadadi becomes the first female Afghan athlete to compete in the Paralympic Games since 2004.
On Thursday she will participate in the taekwondo program for women.
The Afghan athletes were met by IPC chairman Andrew Parsons last weekend in Tokyo at the Paralympic Village.
Their arrival came less than two weeks after the IPC was informed that the Afghan team could not travel to Tokyo.
“That broke the hearts of everyone involved in the Paralympic movement and left both athletes devastated,” Parsons said.
Parsons said that announcement marked the start of a “major global operation leading to their safe evacuation from Afghanistan” and arrival in Japan via France.