Tokyo Paralympics: Afghan athletes safe following evacuation

By Sports Desk August 25, 2021

Afghan Paralympic athletes Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli are in a "safe place" after being evacuated from their homeland.

The two Para-taekwondo athletes were due to represent their country in the Tokyo Games, but could not leave Afghanistan after the Taliban took control.

Khudadadi and Rasouli were among thousands trying to flee their country, so the Afghan flag was carried by a volunteer at Tuesday's opening ceremony in the Japanese capital.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Wednesday confirmed the two athletes had left Afghanistan.

"Efforts have been made to remove them from Afghanistan, they are now in a safe place," IPC spokesman Craig Spence said during a news conference.

"I'm not going to tell you where they are because this isn't about sport, this is about human life and keeping people safe.

"Obviously they've been through a very traumatic process, they're undergoing counselling and psychological help.

"We are being kept in the loop about their whereabouts and their well-being."

Related items

  • "$55M for participants in Summer, Winter Olympics and Paralympics" - Grange "$55M for participants in Summer, Winter Olympics and Paralympics" - Grange

    The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon. Olivia Grange says the Government is rewarding $55 million to athletes, coaches, and officials who participated in the recent Summer and Winter Olympic Games and the Paralympics.

    “Jamaica is joining other countries which reward those who represent them at the Olympics with honorariums,” Minister Grange said while speaking at the official launch of the 2022 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium on Monday.

    “Appreciation Grants will be for those representing Jamaica at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The level of awards was determined based on individual placement, from gold medal winner to non-finalist, coaches, and other supporting staff. Ninety-three persons will be rewarded, valued at approximately $55M,” she added.

    She then broke down how the money would be divided.

    “The honorariums are $1.65 million for each gold medal won; $1.35 million for each silver medal won and $800,000.00 for each bronze medal won. The honorarium is $850,000 for the relay gold. Finalists are receiving $600,000.00; relay finalists, $500,000; and non-finalists, $350,000. Coaches and massage therapists are getting $350,000 while team managers and doctors are getting $200,000,” Grange explained.

     

  • Russia to appeal Winter Paralympics ban, confirms Sports Minister Russia to appeal Winter Paralympics ban, confirms Sports Minister

    Russia is planning to appeal against the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) decision to ban the country's athletes from the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, according to Oleg Matytsin, the country's Minister of Sport.

    The IPC confirmed the decision to bar both Russian and Belarusian Paralympians from the games on Thursday, reversing an earlier announcement that they would be able to participate as neutrals.

    Russia's ban was announced just a day before the Beijing Games are scheduled to begin, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had called for such a measure in the face of international pressure and boycott threats from athletes.

    Matytsin, speaking to the state-owned news agency TASS, confirmed that Russia is now working on an emergency appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

    "We are currently working to establish our legal position to file lawsuits on the protection of our athletes' rights, against the discrimination of athletes based on their ethnicity and the use of sports as a tool of a political pressure," he said.

    "Today's decision of the International Paralympic Committee to bar our team is a blatant violation of athletes' rights and a manipulation of the Olympic Charter and human lives' values in pursuit of political goals.

    "It is extremely inadmissible to put in action any type of sanctions with regard to [Russia's] Paralympians, who have already arrived for the tournament.

    "We are drafting a lawsuit to be considered before the Opening Ceremony and the actual start [of the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games]."

    The IPC's decision came one week after Russia invaded Ukraine and means that a 71-strong team of Russian Paralympians will be forced to sit out the Games, barring the success of an appeal.

    Ukraine, meanwhile, will have 29 representatives in Beijing, while Russian athletes or teams have also been hit with bans by bodies such as the World Athletics Council, FIFA and UEFA, as the international sporting community attempts to apply pressure to the nation.

  • Winter Paralympics: Russian and Belarusian athletes banned from competing after IPC U-turn Winter Paralympics: Russian and Belarusian athletes banned from competing after IPC U-turn

    Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from the 2022 Winter Olympics following a U-turn by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

    The IPC announced on Wednesday that the two nations were set to compete in Beijing, albeit under the Paralympic flag and without being included in the medal table.

    That was despite the International Olympic Committee (IOC) calling for athletes from Russia and Belarus to be prevented from taking part in all international sporting competitions.

    However, just a day before the Games are due to begin, the IPC has reversed its decision amid fierce backlash and threats of boycotts.

    It means 83 athletes will now no longer be able to compete in the nine-day event, including a 71-strong team from Russia.

    IPC president Andrew Parsons said in a statement on Thursday: "At the IPC we are very firm believers that sport and politics should not mix. However, by no fault of its own the war has now come to these Games and behind the scenes many governments are having an influence on our cherished event.

    "The IPC is a membership-based organisation, and we are receptive to the views of our member organisations. When our members elected the board in December 2021 it was to maintain and uphold the principles, values, and rules of the Paralympic Movement.  

    "As board members that is a responsibility and duty we take extremely seriously. In taking our decision yesterday we were looking at the long-term health and survival of the Paralympic Movement.  

    "We are fiercely proud of the principles and values that have made the Movement what it is today. However, what is clear is that the rapidly escalating situation has now put us in a unique and impossible position so close to the start of the Games."

    The new announcement comes a week on from Russia invading Ukraine, with neighbouring Belarus effectively used as a staging post for part of the advance.

    A joint statement from Ukrainian athletes and the Global Athlete group condemned the IPC's original ruling on Wednesday, accusing the governing body of issuing "another blow" to every Ukrainian athlete and citizen.

    Parsons explained that the situation in the athletes' village had become "untenable", leading to the surprise U-turn on the eve of the event.

    "Yesterday we said we would continue to listen, and that is what we are doing," he said. "In the last 12 hours an overwhelming number of members have been in touch with us and been very open, for which I am grateful.  

    "They have told us that if we do not reconsider our decision, it is now likely to have grave consequences for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Multiple NPCs, some of which have been contacted by their governments, teams and athletes, are threatening not to compete.

    "Ensuring the safety and security of athletes is of paramount importance to us and the situation in the athlete villages is escalating and has now become untenable. 

    "In order to preserve the integrity of these Games and the safety of all participants, we have decided to refuse the athlete entries from RPC and NPC Belarus. 

    "To the Para athletes from the impacted countries, we are very sorry that you are affected by the decisions your governments took last week in breaching the Olympic Truce. You are victims of your governments' actions. 

    "Athlete welfare is and always will be a key concern for us. As a result of today's decision 83 Para athletes are directly impacted by this decision. However, if RPC and NPC Belarus remain here in Beijing then nations will likely withdraw. We will likely not have a viable Games. If this were to happen, the impact would be far wider reaching.

    "I hope and pray that we can get back to a situation when the talk and focus is fully on the power of sport to transform the lives of persons with disabilities, and the best of humanity."

    The World Athletics Council announced on Tuesday that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.

    A number of other sporting federations, including FIFA and UEFA, have also banned teams and athletes from Belarus and Russia.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.