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Afghanistan's London 2012 hopeful

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You might not know about Rohullah Nikpai - but for many Afghans - this man is nothing short of a hero after winning the country's first ever Olympic medal. Amandeep Bhangu reports on the Londoners who'll root for him in 2012.


Mojda Hashemyan is a young Afghan living in London

My family fled Afghanistan in 1993, first moving to Russia and then settling in London over a decade ago.

As a budding journalist living here in London, I see that there is hardly a day that does not involve Afghanistan in the headlines.

But when I look at my country's representation in the media I find the stories are mainly about extreme groups, poppy fields and women's rights and all this shapes the views of Afghans to the rest of the world.

When I am confronted with the widely accepted negative view of my homeland I feel responsible to point out the positives, pointing out that Afghanistan was not as we know it today before the war, it was progressive, open minded and developed.

Today I am proud to add Rohullah Nikpai's achievements to the list to show that we are heading in the right direction.

I think it is important that positives are shown despite the negatives, I am worried that the negatives will become a stable view of Afghanistan and it may turn into a barrier between the future generations and success.

Nikpai's achievements are a ray of hope not only to shine the country's name within the sports competitions but also to present Afghanistan in the positive light to the world.

Afghans should be able to that pick up from where they left off before the war and move the country to become the centre of culture, civilization and ultimately become an inspiration for others.

Nikpai's athletic journey is also an example of fighting against all odds and achieving your dreams despite all the hardship faced.

And I know he's a great role-model to inspire young Afghans, including my siblings and me.

I hope other Afghans follow his footsteps and move forward with their dreams, the more similar achievements are reported the easier it will become for the world to accept Afghanistan without prejudice and the easier it is going to be for the Afghans to reunite and trust one another.

It is not just a matter of sports and medals it is a starting point of a renewed society and I hope that the Afghan women do not fall behind and instead start breaking the barriers to step into the world.

That's why I'm so committed to following my dreams to be a journalist so I can make my own contribution.

But for now, like all other Afghans around the world me and my family are very proud of his achievements and will support him in his efforts in future, and I hope I can be part of greeting Nikpai in London when he arrives for the Olympics here in 2012.

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