Afghan athletes all feel honored to represent their country at the Asian Games, said a young basketball player Monday after attending the South Asian delegation's flag raising ceremony in the Athletes' Village of Doha.
"We are here not expecting to win medals, but to represent our country," said Ali Noorzad who did not become a national player until the Afghan basketball team called up a batch of youngsters to a training camp in the United States in preparations for the Doha Asiad.
It's the first time that the war-destroyed country sends a basketball team for Asian Games competitions after long being apart from the Olympic sports family, and none of the team members intended to go getting some astonishing results from the Doha competitions.
"We came from different parts of the country, we were doing preparations for the Asian Games for just one week, and it's really challenges for us to play against all those strong teams of Asia," said Noorzad, referring to the harsh situation inside his country, which could hardly offer regular training bases for the athletes and teams.
"It's also the first time for most of us to represent our country at an Asian Games. We'll do as good as we can," he added.
The Afghan delegation grouped 86 members including 51 athletes to take part in 11 sports here at the Doha Asiad, which is to be officially unveiled on Dec. 1.