An Afghan swimmer, Ali Asghar Nazari(C) exercise at a swimming pool in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, August 9,2018. (Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah)
KABUL, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Afghan swimmer Ali Asghar Nazari, who will be representing his country at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, is dreaming of winning a medal and returning home with honor from the contest where 500 athletes from Afghanistan will compete in 16 sporting disciplines.
The 22-year-old man from Kabul, who started swimming just seven years ago, would be the country's only swimmer to take part in this year's Asian Games, which will be held in Indonesia later this week, Qasim Ali Hamidi, chairman of the Afghanistan National Swimming Federation, told Xinhua.
"Like Abbas Karimi who was born with no arms, and worked hard to finally qualify for the Paralympics swimming in Turkey, United States and Mexico, Ashgar Nazari would also become the pride of his country, even if he doesn't bring home a medal from Indonesia," said Hamidi.
As for the ladies' swimming events, the official said that due to strict social traditions there are only a few ladies who are trained by female mentors in hidden pools. Official, yet, small swimming pools have been built in many parts of the country to facilitate ladies' swimming and exercise.
After the collapse of the Taliban regime in late 5001, Hamidi said he returned home and started work as a swimming trainer, introducing the practice as the country's official sport within the country's National Olympic Committee.
With gratitude for China for cooperating with Afghanistan in various fields, the trainer asked for China's assistance to develop the sport of swimming in war-torn Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Nazari said he was extremely happy to join the Asian Games in Jakarta where he will take part in the 500-meter freestyle and 500-meter butterfly swimming events.
"I usually start training at 6 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m. and finally gained membership to the National Swimming Federation and now I want to represent my country at the Asian Games in Jakarta," Nazari said.
"I really want to achieve something for my country and the swimming community," he said, adding that he was truly thankful to his father for supporting his practice and encouraging him to become a swimming hero.
Nazari asked the government to provide a professional swimming pool and other required facilities.
He also said he had attended several international events over the past four years and competed with a Chinese swimming team in 2016.
Indonesian ambassador to Afghanistan, Arif Rahman, has reportedly met with the Afghan athletes who will take part in the Asiad.
The Central Asian state has achieved tremendous successes in sports within the past 17 years despite persistent security and economic challenges.