His family returned to Afghanistan in 2004. At age 21 in Beijing, Nikpah not only competed in his first Olympics, he took home a medal. He is tall, fit and blessed with movie-star looks. Even his haircut is popular with young men eager to imitate their hero. For a nation synonymous with the destruction of war, he is a welcome face of a new Afghanistan.In London wollte Nikpah sogar Gold gewinnen. Am Ende holte er in der 68-kg-Klasse erneut Bronze. Der 25-Jährige bleibt der einzige olympische Medaillengewinner seines vom Krieg erschütterten Landes. Laut AFP sorgte sein erneuter Medaillengewinn für einen Anruf von Präsident Karzai und trat eine Jubelwelle in sozialen Netzwerken los.
Unter den sechs Athleten, die Afghanistan nach London schickte, war aber auch eine Frau: die Sprinterin Tahmina Kohistani, 23, Sportstudentin in Kabul. Sie schied zwar schon im 100-m-Vorlauf aus, sorgte aber dennoch für Aufsehen.
The only woman athlete from her war-ravaged country to compete in the Olympics, Kohistani said she had encountered fierce opposition from conservatives in her home city of Kabul but called on other Afghan women to follow her lead. "I faced a lot of challenges in my training for the London Olympics," the 23-year-old, who raced in a head scarf decorated with her national colors, told reporters.
"One day I was coming to the stadium and the taxi driver asked me where I was going. I said and 'I am training, I am going to London Olympics' and he said 'get out of the cab, I don't want to take you there'." Kohistani was constantly harassed while training, she said, and her coach had to spend a lot of time fighting with a particular group of men who abused her at the stadium in Kabul.Reuters