Rifts in Olympic Committee no longer tolerable, says Nikpa
Nikpa earned the first bronze medal for the country in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. But he left the country in 2014 to protest what he called the Taekwondo Federation’s discriminatory attitude.
The athlete, hailing from the minority Hazara community, did not provide details of the federation’s behaviour that forced him to exit Afghanistan.
However, sources close to him said Nikpa had left the country due to a leadership crisis plaguing the federation and trainers’ negligence that left a negative impact on athletes’ performance.
Nikpa, who recently returned to the country, told Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview the two Olympic Committee leaders -- a source of rifts -- had been removed.
The unity of leadership had prompted him to return to his country, the athlete said, expressing his satisfaction with the current state of affairs in the Taekwondo Federation.
While hoping differences would no longer affect the Olympic Committee’s work, Nikpa confirmed he had left the country in protest. However, he believed the committee would put its house in order.
Fahim Hashimi and Mohammad Zahir Aghbar, who previously held leadership oppositions in the Olympic Committee, traded allegations of corruption and incompetence.
Abdullah Shakib Sattari, head of the Boxing Federation, blamed Hashimi paying no attention to the Olympic Committee. He was replaced by Bawar Hotak five months ago.
Later, Zahir Aghbar, Wushu Federation head Syed Rahman head deputy head of Olympic Committee Rubina Jalali were nominated for the committee’s head, Sattari added. Aghbar was elected as head of the committee by a majority vote.
Born in 1987, Nikpa said he could not complete his higher education due to participation in multiple domestic and foreign events. But he still managed to complete his high school education.
Brimming with confidence, Nikpa has decorated his living room with the medals and shields he has won. Born abroad, he refused to name the country of his birth. He wants to be a hero belonging to Afghanistan.
He plans to take part in a series of events in the near future and find his way to more Olympic Games and win more laurels for a country known for ubiquitous violence.
Raised in an Iranian refugee camp, he was drawn to martial arts at a young age. He returned to Kabul in 2004 and emerged a national hero in the Beijing Olympics, defeating former taekwondo world champion Juan Antonio Ramos (of Spain).
It was the first Olympic victory for Afghanistan, followed by another bronze medal in the World Taekwondo Championships of May of 2011. He won this medal in the featherweight division.
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