Kabul: The Hazara national hero, Rohullah Nikpai, who brought the first-ever medal to Afghanistan in the history of Olympics, arrived in Kabul to a warmly welcoming nation united in his victory.
Vice President Karim Khalili, ministers, members of parliament, officials and a large number of people of diverse faiths, ethnicities, ages and genders poured to the streets to welcome their common hero.
Rohullah was picked from the Kabul International Airport and taken to the National Stadium, accompanied by a jubilant crowd of fans that chanted slogans such as “Dear Hero, congratulations on your victory.”
Like Rohullah’s achievement, the spontaneous fervor and unity displayed by fans from diverse backgrounds was unprecedented for a sportsman in the history of Afghanistan. The slogan chanted by the his fans marked the mood of a nation united by a sportsman — “Rohullah is the pride of the nation.”
Vice President Khalili, speaking in the Stadium, said, “Rohullah made history and we are proud of him.”
Other officials, head of the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee, ministers and social elites also made speeches.
All roads were decorated with Rohullah’s portraits and signs welcoming him home.
Private corporations such as the UAE-based Etisalat phone company had signs that encouraged the Hero. Alkozay tea company gifted Rohullah a brand new Toyota car, while Afghan Wireless mobile phone company gifted him US$30,000.
Later that afternoon, people gathered at the venue set for celebration and visitation — a bungalow in Pul-e-Surkh, West Kabul. Ustaad Safdar Tawakuli inagurated the celebration ceremony with the song “Ay Iftikhaar e Hazara.”
The celebration at Pul-e-Surkh is set to continue for two more days.
Pictures of Rohullah Nikpai’s arrival:
Photo Courtesy BBC, Pajhwak