Afghan athlete Zakia Khudadadi competes at Tokyo Paralympics
- Zakia Khudadai is a taekwondo player from Afghanistan
- Zakia lost her first-round match in the 44-49kg weight class
- She also dropped a losers' bracket match against Viktoriia Marchuk of Ukraine
Afghan athlete Zakia Khudadadi, on Thursday, finally competed at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Zakia is the only other Afghan in the fray who are competing at the Games. The athlete lost her first-round match in taekwondo in the 44-49-kilogram weight class to Ziyodakhon Isakova of Uzbekistan 17-12. She also dropped a losers' bracket match against Viktoriia Marchuk of Ukraine 48-34.
Hossain Rasouli, the other Afghan in the fray, competed in the long jump event and understandably finished last. Rasouli is a sprinter but he arrived several days too late to run in the 100-meter race.
The Afghan athletes arrived in Tokyo days after the Paralympics opened, both fleeing Kabul for Paris, and then on to Tokyo.
Neither Khudadadi nor Rasouli have spoken in public since arriving, and officials have allowed them to skip interviews with reporters to protect their privacy.
International Paralympic Committee spokesman Craig Spence was asked to update the status of the Afghan athletes, but could not offer much.
“We've left them be for the last few days to focus on competition,” he said. “We'll now start to have conversations about what happens in terms of the closing ceremony and where they go next. Those are the conversations we'll be having in the coming days.”
The Paralympics Games comes to an end on Sunday, September 5. Several countries, including Australia, have been mentioned as possible destinations, Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, Belgian wheelchair athlete Jochaim Gerard was taken to a hospital after he felt faint on Tuesday evening in the Olympic Village.
Spence said Gerard, ranked No. 3 in wheelchair tennis, had a "cardiac" issue. In the latest update, the athlete was said to be in stable condition and is expected to remain in the hospital for tests, it was added.
In a statement, the Belgian Paralympic Committee said Gerard "suddenly and unexpectedly felt faint" and was transported to a hospital. It said he regained consciousness in the hospital and could answer questions.
(With Associated Press inputs)