Afghanistan’s two Paralympic athletes have been safely evacuated from the country, the International Paralympic Committee has confirmed.
Para-taekwondo athletes Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli had been set to compete at the Tokyo Paralympics, which started on Wednesday. But the pair were among thousands of people unable to leave the country after the Taliban seized power. The Afghan flag was held by a volunteer at Tuesday’s opening ceremony.
“Efforts have been made to remove them from Afghanistan, they are now in a safe place,” said IPC spokesman Craig Spence.
“I’m not going to tell you where they are because this isn’t about sport, this is about human life and keeping people safe.
“Obviously they’ve been through a very traumatic process, they’re undergoing counselling and psychological help.
“We are being kept in the loop about their whereabouts and their well-being.”
Khudadadi, 23, was to be the first woman ever to represent Afghanistan at the Paralympics and had appealed for help to flee the country after the Taliban takeover.