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Successful rescue mission sees seven female Afghan Taekwondo athletes arrive in Melbourne

Successful rescue mission sees seven female Afghan Taekwondo athletes arrive in Melbourne
September 23, 2021

A successful rescue mission lead by Australian Taekwondo, the Australian Government and Oceania Taekwondo has resulted in seven female taekwondo athletes who fled Taliban controlled Afghanistan having safely arrived in Melbourne.

After a high-risk evacuation to Australia, the group will start their new life in Melbourne and be part of the Australian Taekwondo community after finishing their quarantine period this week.

Australian Taekwondo Chief Executive, Heather Garriock notes "we're really pleased the ladies are safe and incredibly grateful for the assistance of the Australian Government and Oceania Taekwondo in getting them out of Afghanistan.

"The lives of these women were in danger. As a sport, we needed to pull together and do something to help. The Australian taekwondo community is incredibly welcoming, and these ladies will be welcomed with open arms."

Garriock contacted former Socceroo and vocal humanitarian advocate Craig Foster to help in relocating the athletes to Australia and advised "Craig is a passionate advocate for multiculturalism and refugees, so it was only natural that he was the first person I contacted to discuss what needed to happen."

Requiring an immigration lawyer, Garriock approached John Kosifis, the President of Oceania Taekwondo, for further assistance explaining "John is a lawyer and was able to provide us with support around the process we needed to follow."

Athlete Fatima Ahmadi is excited to be in Australia and is grateful for the assistance of all parties who supported their evacuation and shared "I feel so good about arriving in Australia. We are safe here without any danger.

"Australian Taekwondo helped us a lot and I am so thankful. We are now waiting to do some useful things for Australia and repay your help."

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan last month with a regime that will forbid Afghan women from playing sport. Seven of the eight women are currently in Australia. One of them remains in Kabul due to the violence that surrounds her.

"A visa to Australia has been secured for one more athlete, and we are working with the relevant agencies to get her safely to Australia," Garriock added.

Australian Taekwondo hopes the wider community will support the group as they establish themselves in Victoria.

Related Articles

15th September 2021 - Australian Taekwondo appoints new Communications Manager

29th August 2021 - Football Australia supports increasing humanitarian refugee intake from Afghanistan

23rd July 2021 - CALD Academy refugee swimming and employment program secures Zest award

9th January 2021 - Land set aside for new Afghanistan cricket stadium

12th September 2020 - Former Matilda Heather Garriock named as new Chief Executive at Australian Taekwondo

10th August 2020 - Australia’s boxing, judo and taekwondo NSOs establish new collective high-performance entity

30th December 2019 - Darebin City Council offers refugees and asylum seekers free access to leisure services

3rd October 2019 - YMCA hosts Multicultural Youth Leadership Camp to help young refugees overcome barriers

3rd June 2019 - Belgravia Leisure awarded for Refugees Breaking Down Cultural Barriers Program

21st March 2019 - Yazidi refugees assist in turtle release from Dolphin Marine Conservation Park

10th January 2018 - Australian University Sport Awards recognise Kicking goals together refugee project

24th June 2017 - World Taekwondo Federation changes name as a result of ‘negative connotations’

19th September 2014 - Australian Sports Commission recognises new unified national taekwondo body

29th June 2010 - Former refugees football club wins ASC Award


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