Refugee from Afghanistan wins gold in taekwondo at European Para champs

Zakia Khudadadi, a refugee from Afghanistan, claimed the European title in the -47kg category of taekwondo in the European Para Championships on Monday.

Competing under the banner of the refugee team, Khudadadi’s victory marks her very first major title in the sport.

“I am really happy because it’s the first time I win a gold medal. I am from Afghanistan and now I am a refugee,” said Khudadadi.

This remarkable achievement comes just two years after her participation in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which she almost missed due to the collapse of Kabul to the Taliban.

Khudadadi arrived in Tokyo after she was airlifted by Royal Australian Air Force.

“It is a little hard for me to talk about Tokyo [Olympics] because it broke my heart because I had to leave my country, my home, and everything,” she said.

Her participation in the Tokyo Paralympics itself was a victory over adversity, as she proudly represented her nation despite the circumstances. Now, with her recent triumph at the European Para Championships in Rotterdam, Khudadadi is setting her sights on even loftier goals.

Having secured the European taekwondo title, Khudadadi is fueled by a dream to clinch a medal at the Paris 2024 Paralympics.

“Because my country has many problems for women I had to stop practicing sports and now I have restarted training aiming for Paris 2024,” she stated.