The two Afghan Paralympic athletes welcomed by France



The two Afghan athletes who participated in the Tokyo Paralympic Games were welcomed by France, sports minister Roxana Maracineanu announced on Friday, August 10. “They wanted to come back to France, and we welcomed them like thousands of Afghans”, assured the minister.

These two athletes, Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli, whose participation in the Paralympic Games was almost prevented by the arrival of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, landed on French soil shortly after the end of the Games, whose closing ceremony was took place on Sunday.

→ ANALYSIS. Afghanistan: reception is organized for refugees who have landed in France

The two athletes had already passed through France in August. The sports ministry, in collaboration with the military ministry and the foreign ministry, had indeed succeeded in evacuating them from Kabul to Paris, a few days before the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games on August 24.

Taekwondo and athletics

“We managed to get these athletes out of Kabul, and then we made sure that these athletes could rest (…) and train” at the National Institute of Sports Expertise and Performance (Insep), recalled Roxana Maracineanu.

Arrived on August 28 in Tokyo, they were greeted by the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Andrew Parsons upon their arrival on Japanese soil. They were able to participate in their respective events, taekwondo for Zakia Khudadadi and the 400m in athletics for Hossain Rasouli, who lost his left arm in a mine explosion.

“I followed them a bit (in Tokyo, editor’s note). You know that I have a past quite close to theirs since I too arrived in France as a refugee (in 1984 from Romania, editor’s note), so I am very sensitive to their situation today ”, added the minister.

“I also know the dangers that threaten them and their families”, said Roxana Maracineanu, who did not wish to say more about their situation ” For safety reasons “.

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