Lucky Afghanistan athletes come to Shanghai "under pressure"
October 8, 2007 (Xinhua): Unable to cover all the expenses, Afghanistan finally sent only nine of the 20 sign-ups to Shanghai for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
"Taking part in the games and sharing joys are the spirit of the Special Olympics. However, my athletes are under certain pressure as they are bringing the hope of those absent," head of the delegation Lzat Nasrullah said Sunday.
"We want to take our medals home to share with them," athlete Zohra Jaan said, with a firm tone. Jaan was only ten years old, the youngest in the delegation.
When asked about her performance at a 25-meter race, Jaan seemed rather confused, turning to Nasrullah. After his explanation with body language and their mother tongue, she said loudly: "It's good. I feel good."
"She was born healthy, but a bomb to her family years ago made her deaf and intellect-disabled," Her coach Tahmina Tanta said. "She likes running, but she can only start to run by watching the starting gun instead of listening to it."
According to Nasrullah, Afghanistan originally decided to have 20 athletes come to Shanghai. "We trained them at home. But at the last minute, the Special Olympics International told us that they could only afford nine of them. And we ourselves can't afford it, so we leave the football team at home."
"It's really a pity that they can't come to the modern, wonderful city," Nasrullah said.
"Tomorrow, I will take the 50-m. race, and I will get two panda toys (the Special Olympics souvenir). I will take them home," Jaan said.