Afghan athlete Hossain Rasouli finally got his chance on Tuesday to participate in the Tokyo Paralympics.
- Hossain Rasouli competed in the men’s T47 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-person Afghan team have been sequestered in the Paralympic Village for privacy and safety reasons.
They have also declined to speak to the media, before or after events.
Hossain is primarily a sprinter, but arrived too 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 by 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 be competing,” Spence said.
“He had done long jump previously, but it was his first long jump in a major competition. It was a very special occasion.
“That’s as much as I’ll say.”
Khudadadi is set to become the first female Afghan athlete to compete in the Paralympics since 2004.
She will take part in the women’s taekwondo program on Thursday.
The Afghan athletes were met in Tokyo at the Paralympic Village on the weekend by IPC president Andrew Parsons.
Their arrival came less than two weeks after the IPC was informed the Afghan team could not travel to Tokyo.
“That broke the hearts of all involved in the Paralympic movement and left both athletes devastated,” Parsons said.
Parsons said that announcement started a “major global operation that led to their safe evacuation from Afghanistan” and arrival in Japan via France.