Going for Glory
Independent Films, Politics, Documentaries
Afghan sprinter Massoud Azizi prepares for the London Olympic Games
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Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
Crouched at the starting line, a sprinter awaits the signal to go.
After a few steps, he stops running and returns to the start point.
This is Afghan sprinter Massoud Azizi, and he is practising for the perfect start to his races in the London Olympics this year.
“Every athlete wants to take part in the London Olympic Games, and I feel very happy that I am taking part. I will try my best to return to Afghanistan with achievements, because Afghanistan has endured a long war, and has suffered a lot. I want peace and stability in my country, and I will do my best to raise up the Afghan flag on the world’s stage.”
He comes from a loving family which, he explains, has always been a sporting one.
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“My two brothers were champions of this field previously. I was always going to watch them run. I was interested and encouraged by them, and so I followed in their footsteps. Finally I ended up as a runner, and became the top ranked runner in Afghanistan.”
Being an athlete here in the past was not always easy, but things seem to be looking up.
“The main problems and concerns of athletes in the past were the lack of security, because they were always scared to play the sport. They were always thinking of possible suicide attacks and more. Even inside the stadium, we were not feeling safe and were scared all the time. Fortunately, the security is better now, and the President of the Olympic committee has enabled opportunities for athletes, and we are having better security. Security has a positive impact on the morale of the athletes.”
The walls of Massoud’s home are adorned with medals and awards from his previous races. He took part in the Athens and Beijing Olympics, as well as numerous other, smaller games. He also has a rather treasured photo.
“This is the photo with Usain Bolt. We took it in a competition in Korea last year. It was my desire to take a picture with him and also it’s a honour for me to run with this champion who has broken the record for the 100 and 200m. I felt very happy that I have met him and run with him and to ask him about his training and to have a picture with him.”
Afghan atheletes, such as Massoud and his fellow Olympic hopeful, Tahmina Kohistani, need support to chase their dreams.
“Sport has brought a significant change in my personal life. Afghanistan is a poor country, but people are always trying to help the athletes. The Olympic Committee has always helped us financially. When we got back from Beijing, we hadn’t won anything. Despite that, President Hamid Karzai, along with the head of the BAYAT foundation granted us some cash, saying ‘It does not matter if you win or lose, your participation in the Beijing games was worth it, and was an honour for the people of Afghanistan.”
Massoud will face some tough competition in the London Games, but he feels that he is prepared.
“When I became the top ranked runner in Afghanistan, we were running on cement tracks, and we didn’t have computerized timers – we were using a stopwatch system. Initially, I was able to run one hundred meters in 12 seconds. But now, after hard work and training, I am able to run it in 10.8 seconds. I am well prepared for the London Olympic Games.
It’s two months until the Games begin, and Massoud will be doing his best to win glory for the people of Afghanistan.
This is the NATO Channel, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Year of Production: 2012
Country: United States