Australia Grants Visas To Afghan Flag Bearer At 2020 Tokyo Olympics To Escape Taliban Regime

Australia Grants Visas To Afghan Flag Bearer At 2020 Tokyo Olympics To Escape Taliban Regime

The sprinter who carried the flag of Afghanistan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics receives asylum in Australia while fleeing the brutal Taliban regime

  • Afghanistan’s flag bearer at Tokyo 2020 Olympics relocates safely to Australia
  • Kimia Yousofi among the 31 Afghans who received visas to escape the Taliban regime
  • Initiative to support outstanding women in sports campaigns of a terrorist group

Afghanistan’s flag bearer at the Tokyo 2020 Games and other prominent female sports activists have been safely relocated to Australia following a year-long Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) project.

Two-time Olympic sprinter and flag-bearer Kimia Yousofi, her mother and one of her three brothers were among five Afghan families with Olympic ties who landed in Australia this week.

In all, 31 family members arrived in Australia, the first in early June and the most recent last week.

The initiative comes after Kabul’s fall to the Taliban last year put them at significant risk, given their support for women’s participation in sports and education.

Afghanistan's flag bearer at the Tokyo 2020 Games and other prominent female sports activists have been safely relocated to Australia in a move to escape Taliban rule.

Afghanistan’s flag bearer at the Tokyo 2020 Games and other prominent female sports activists have been safely relocated to Australia in a move to escape Taliban rule.

Yousofi, who had already fled Afghanistan for Iran with her parents in 1996, hopes her other siblings will be granted visas to join her as she pushes for a third appearance at the Games in Paris 2024.

There he could represent Afghanistan, if the Taliban government supports sending a men’s and women’s team, or the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Refugee Team.

“It’s been a journey for me, but I’m very happy to be here,” he said.

“Basically, I’m starting a new life here. I am going to train very hard and it would be exciting to go to Paris. I will definitely compete.

“Thank you to the Australian government and the Australian Olympic Committee and everyone for helping me bring my family here.”

“Thank you to the Australian government and the Australian Olympic Committee and everyone for helping to bring my family here,” Yousofi said.

Afghan taekwondo representative Ahmad Abasy has trained and promoted his sport with a focus on creating opportunities for young women.

‘Sport is the natural right of every human being, regardless of gender,’ he said upon arrival in Australia.

“Unfortunately, now in Afghanistan, sports have a gender perspective and girls are denied the right to sport. This is a great loss for the sport of Afghanistan and the world.

‘Afghan girls are very talented in sports and have made significant achievements in the sports sector that should not be ignored.

‘I think it is not enough for girls to participate in sports only in parks and sports clubs.

‘Afghan girls should be active in international competitions, and we will see one of the Afghan girls win a world Olympic medal. I will fight for her rights.

The AOC worked with the Department of the Interior to secure visas, flights, and transfers, while also providing financial support and other resources while they awaited approval and long-term housing and employment.

“For the families involved, the stress and uncertainty during this time has been enormous,” said AOC Chief Matt Carroll.

‘These brave people have endured significant hardship and we are very pleased that our efforts have been successful.

“It is a proud moment for the Olympic movement in Australia that we have them here, safe and well settled.”

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