Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Iraqi Athletes Ready for Impact on Daegu Universiade

Iraqi student athletes have been ready to make an impact on the 22nd World University Games.


Iraqi student athletes have been ready to make an impact on the 22nd World University Games.

Overcoming all adversity, the Iraqi delegation, composed of eight members, finally managed to reach the southern city of SouthKorea with the help of the Daegu organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee.

The Iraqi athletes will be participating in two events, taekwondo and judo, and they are expecting two medals in the lightweight division of taekwondo.

"An Iraqi taekwondo team hasn't been able to participate in a world sporting event for a long time mainly due to financial reasons," said Nam Sung-bok, coach of the Iraqi taekwondo squad. He now also heads the Pennsylvania State Taekwondo Association in the United States.

He said Iraq had initially planned to attend the Asian Games inBusan last year but failed due to lack of finance.

"My fellow athletes were hardly able to practice back in Iraq without proper facilities in the aftermath of the war," said 27-year-old taekwondo Haydar M. K. Baqir.

"It was a long way for us to come this far," judoist Oday TariqHussein said. "Through the Daegu Universiade, we are determined toshow the world that the Iraqi team is still alive."

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