Rohullah Nikpai speaking in 2012
June 15, 1987 |
|Height||180 cm (5 ft 11 in)|
|Weight||68 kg (150 lb)|
|Achievements and titles|
|World finals||2011 Gyeongju|
|Regional finals||2008 Luoyang|
|Olympic finals||2008 Beijing|
Nikpai started his training in Kabul, Afghanistan, at the age of 10. During the bloody civil war over the capital city, his family left the city and settled in one of Iran's many Afghan refugee camps. He soon became a member of the Afghan refugee Taekwondo team after watching martial arts movies. He returned to Kabul in 2004 and continued his training at the government provided Olympic training facility. At the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar Nikpai competed in the flyweight division where he was defeated by eventual silver medalist Nattapong Tewawetchapong of Thailand in round 16.
Nikpai competed in the 58 kg category at the 2008 Summer Olympics, defeating two-time world champion Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain to win the bronze medal, making him Afghanistan's first Olympic medalist in any event. He became a national hero, returning to Afghanistan and getting off the plane to be met with a crowd of many thousands. Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai immediately called to congratulate Nikpai. He also awarded him a house, car, and other luxuries at the government’s expense. "I hope this will send a message of peace to my country after 30 years of war," Nikpai said. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Rohullah entered the 68 kg category, where he was beaten by Iran's Mohammad Bagheri Motamed; he eventually won his bronze medal at the Olympic Games after defeating Martin Stamper of Great Britain.
- Rohullah Nikpai. london2012.com
- Nikpai hopes his medal can serve as message of peace ESPN
- Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez (2008-08-20). Afghan medalist wins a house, cheers from country. Associated Press
- Amir Shah; Rahim Faiez (20 August 2008). "Afghanistan in awe after winning first Olympic medal.". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- Athlete Biography of Rohullah Nikpai. beijing2008.cn
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