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Page last updated at 10:47 GMT, Wednesday, 13 October 2010 11:47 UK

Rohullah Nikpai, Afghanistan

World Class 2012 in partnership with the British Council bring you the stories of the schools where the dreams begin.

Rohullah Nikpai

Rohullah was Afghanistan's first ever athlete to gain an Olympic medal when he picked up the bronze for taekwondo at Beijing 2008.

Map of Afghanistan

During his childhood Rohullah spent time as a refugee in Iran. His school years were spent in Tehran, Iran's capital.

After his studies, Rohullah continued taekwondo at the Olympic training facility in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Rohullah's school memories

In an interview with BBC World Class, Rohullah tells us about his lasting school memories and how he believes education is the route to a successful future.

Rohullah Nikpai
School is the foundation behind the realisation of your goals. Going to school opens your mind and widens your understanding
Rohulluah Nikpai

"I have never been to school in Afghanistan. I went to school in Tehran, Iran's capital. My early school days were spent in an Iranian state-run school called Dabestan Sabereen.

I remember lots of funny experiences during my school days. In the early months of my first year I remember falling asleep in class and being embarrassed when I was woken up by our teacher.

We had a female teacher in year two who was my favourite teacher. She was very kind to everyone and to me in particular. I loved to come to school because of her. History was my favourite subject and I'm still interested in reading about it.

During my childhood and early years of school I liked playing Tushla, a marbles game common among Afghan kids.

I've been back to Iran only once since we left the country, but I didn't manage to visit my school because I was taking part in a taekwando competition.

My message to young kids is to take school very seriously and understand that school is the route to a prosperous future. Even if they want to be athletes or be stars of any other profession, they have to try hard in their lessons at school. I'd also encourage them to exercise and take up some sporting activities alongside studying.

When I see kids going to school in Kabul I feel so proud of them, as they're going to school despite the economical and security challenges. Schools have improved over the last five years and more people are interested in going to school in urban and rural areas these days."

Translation by Shoaib Sharifi

Rohullah with medal
Rohullah on the podium with his bronze medal at at the Beijing Olympics 2008

World Olympic Dreams

Rohullah is one of the athletes being tracked as London 2012 approaches and they strive to make their Olympic dreams a reality.

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see also
From unknown to national hero
22 Nov 10 |  World Olympic Dreams
Tom Daley introduces World Class 2012
27 Jul 10 |  World Olympic Dreams

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