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Friday, August 10, 2012

Taekwondoka Nikpai adds more Olympic glory to Afghanistan 2012-08-10 06:09:45

LONDON, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Taekwondoka Rohullah Nikpai came for a gold medal on Thursday but a bronze was enough to fill his eyes with tears, as he won the first medal at the London Olympic Games for his country Afghanistan.

Nikpai, already a history-maker to bring Afghanistan's first ever Olympic medal in Beijing 2008, also a bronze in the men's -58kg, edged Britain's Martin Stamper 5-3 in a packed Excel arena.

"It's the second consecutive time that I've won the bronze medal at the Olympics, I'm very happy because this medal is very important to my country. I had hoped it would be a gold," said the 25-year-old.

"Getting a medal is very important to all the countries in the world, but especially for Afghanistan. I love Afghanistan," he added.

"I have to thank everyone who supported me but, from the bottom of my heart, I would especially like to thank all the Afghan refugees who came here to support me. It means a lot to me, and I'm very happy for that and for the bronze medal," he said.

Nikpai was raised in an Iranian refugee camp after his family fled the violence in Kabul. He took up taekwondo at age 10 while still in exile and returned to the Afghan capital in 2004.

Since returning from the Beijing Olympics, he has started his own engineering company.

Until Beijing, Afghanistan had taken part in 12 Olympic Games since their first appearance at Berlin 1936, but had never produced a medallist.

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