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Feature: Afghan girl's Olympic debut


10:33, August 04, 2012

LONDON, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Tahmina Kohistani, the only Afghan female athlete at London Olympics, stepped into the main sadium filled with some 80,000 spectators, ran for her best, finished last in 14.42 seconds in the 100m race, but she believed she had already won a gold medal.

"I forgot who I was with the crowd," said the 23-year-old Kohistani, the only female athlete in Afghanistan's team at the London 2012 Olympic Games, after she finished last in the preliminary round of women's 100m race on Friday.

"From the beginning I did not think about winning a gold. Being here is important. Right now I have my gold medal."

"I know getting a medal in the Olympics is very difficult, but I am here to open a new era for the women of Afghanistan," said Kohistani, who hopes that her presence at the Games will help to break barriers preventing women from practising sport in her country.

"In my society there is no sport for females. My people do not accept sport for women. They think sport is not good for them."

Wearing long black trousers, long sleeves and a head scarf with the colors of green, red and black to honor the national flag of Afghanistan, Kohistani looked quite different from the other sprinters. And she also need to cope with a lot of different obstacles in order to compete in the Games.

"In Afghanistan it is different from here in London. Every day I have to face a lot of problems when I go training. All along there have been people who wanted to disturb me, to stop me," Kohistani said. "Coming to the Olympics was one of my dreams. It's more than eight years that I am running."

"Being a Muslim female athlete is most important for me. I represent a country where every day there are suicide bomb blasts. It is important that a girl from such a country can be here," she added.

Kohistani was actually the slowest runner in the competition with a sprinter from Qatar failing to finish the race. But Kohistani has already tried her best as her previous personal best was 15.00 seconds.

"This is my first Games and I am the only girl to represent Afghanistan in athletics," she said. "It is a dream come true."

"I hope the next generation of women will be proud of me and that they will never forget me. I want them to come and join me," Kohistani added.


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