Australia relocates more Afghan athletes fleeing Taliban regime

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia has relocated Afghan Olympic flag bearer Kimia Yousofi and other athletes and their family members fleeing the Taliban regime, officials said on Wednesday (August 17th).

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said five Afghan families with “links to the Olympic movement” had arrived in Australia in recent months following a 12-month project to bring them to safety.

Among them are two-time Olympian and track sprinter Yousofi, who carried the flag for Afghanistan at the Tokyo Olympics last year, and Asian Taekwondo Games medalist Ahmad Abasy, the AOC said.

A total of 31 family members had arrived in Australia – the first in early June and the most recent last week.

“For the families involved, the stress and uncertainty during this time has been enormous,” AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said in a statement.

“Many have spent time in places outside of Afghanistan and it’s wonderful to have them now on Australian soil. All have arrived happy, even if they were exhausted.”

The AOC liaised with the Australian government to secure visas and flights for the Afghan arrivals while the International Olympic Committee provided financial support while they were in interim locations.