Afghan Olympian

The World

Afghanistan sent only four athletes to the Beijing games, and Nikpai was one of them, a shy 21 year old. He beat the tae kwon do world record holder and took home a bronze. He cried when he won his country’s first medal. His victory was more than a decade in the making, when he accidentally stumbled into a tae kwon do class with his brother�the sport is popular in Afghanistan. He trained hard as a way of escaping the daily rigors of a country mired in conflict. The national tae kwon do team had hardly any money for international competitions, but now that he won a medal, he’s treated as a hero in Afghanistan. Afghans finally had something to celebrate. Nikpai says he hopes his Olympic win will inspire his country. he wants to bring peace to Afghanistan, and he’d like to see more young people take up sports rather than guns. The government has noticed Nikpai’s achievements and the government offered to buy him a house. They too hope sports can be a positive outlet for the country’s young. Nikpai says he wants to win a silver or a gold in the next summer Olympics.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.