Afghan Olympians, including Tokyo flag bearer, resettle in Australia
Sydney, Australia, Aug 17 (EFE).- Afghanistan’s Tokyo Olympics flag bearer and sprinter Kimia Yousofi, along with another 30 people with ties to the Olympic movement, have been safely relocated to Australia, officials reported on Wednesday.
Five families have arrived in Australia in recent weeks as part of a year-long Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) project to welcome athletes and their families that “faced significant risk had they remained in Afghanistan as a consequence of their support for the participation of women in sport and education,” the AOC said in a statement.
Yousofi recently arrived in Australia with her mother and a brother.
“It’s been a journey for me but I am very happy to be here. I am essentially starting a new life here. I am going to be training very hard and it would be exciting to go to Paris [2024 Summer Olympics] – I am definitely going to be competing,” she said.
In addition to Yousofi, who also participated in the Rio Games and carried her country’s flag at that event, the AOC said Australian authorities have also taken in Asian Games taekwondo medalist Ahmad Abasy, as well as two families connected to Olympic volleyball.
“We have Olympic athletes in the group as well as sport administrators who particularly championed women’s sport through recruitment programs, coaching and officiating,” AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll said in the statement.
The new arrivals entered Australia on humanitarian visas between the beginning of June and last week as part of the COA’s efforts to ensure their “safe exit” from Afghanistan, sometimes via third countries, after the Taliban returned to power on Aug. 15 last year and restricted women’s rights. EFE