- 14 Apr 2004
- IOC News
Medals for Afghanistan at the SAF-Games
Almost 150 athletes from Afghanistan returned home from the South Asian Federation Games in Pakistan, 32 of them proudly carrying medals. They were greeted at a big ceremony, in the presence of Anwar Jekdalek, President of the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee, and the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai.
"I am really happy for our athletes, because even though our sports federations do not yet meet international standards, this proves that we can win medals anyway," said Jekdalek.
A rise in confidence
The 9th South Asian Federation Games, held from 29 March to 7 April 2004, hosted athletes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The 32 medals won by Afghan athletes have given the country’s sports a great boost, only four months before Afghanistan re-enters the Olympic Games, after being banned during the years of Taliban rule.
28 bronze, three silver and one gold medal awarded
Twenty-eight bronze medals were awarded to Afghan athletes in boxing, karate, rowing, wrestling and taekwondo. Three silver medals were won in taekwondo, wrestling and karate; and one very proud taekwondo athlete, Badam Gul Multazim, will return to Afghanistan with a shiny gold medal.
The results in Pakistan are not only good news for high-level sport in Afghanistan, but the President of the National Olympic Committee also thinks that medals and victories in sport can work wonders for young Afghans with a less healthy lifestyle.
Afghanistan is preparing to send five or six athletes to the Olympic Games in Greece in August, and at the moment a group of Afghan runners, boxers, wrestlers and taekwondo athletes are training in Iran on IOC (Olympic Solidarity) grants.
Related story: Afghan athletes train in Iran
Learn more on Olympic Solidarity