Kimia Yousofi, Afghanistan’s Olympic flag bearer, and five Afghan families who were being persecuted by the Taliban have successfully immigrated to Australia.
The athletes with “links to the Olympic movement,” according to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), came into recent months after a 12-month initiative to get them to safety. Since June, a total of 31 families have relocated here.
Yousofi remarked, “It’s been a journey for me, but I’m very delighted to be here.”
Sprinter Yousofi, 26, represented Afghanistan and ran in the women’s 100-meter event at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which were delayed until last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
She now aspires to participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. “I’m going to train really hard, and going to Paris would be wonderful,” she continued.
Ahmad Abasy, a medalist in taekwondo at the Asian Games, moved with the group to Australia.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) offered financial support for the Afghan arrivals while they were staying in temporary quarters, and the AOC coordinated with the Australian government to arrange visas and flights for them.
According to AOC CEO Matt Carroll, the stress and unpredictability at this time have been enormous for the affected families.
“It’s lovely to have them now on Australian soil. Many of them have travelled outside Afghanistan.” They all arrived content if worn out.
“We are thrilled that our efforts have been successful. These brave folks have withstood much hardship.”
A year ago, as the Taliban took power, Australia evacuated more than 70 Afghan athletes, family members, and administrators. Since then, girls and women’s sports have been prohibited due to the Taliban government’s strict regulations.