Photo: Rohullah Nikpa via Facebook

Rohullah Nikpa appointed coach of New Zealand’s national taekwondo team

Rohullah Nikpa, Afghanistan’s first Olympic medalist, has been appointed the coach of New Zealand’s national taekwondo team.

“I am genuinely honored to have been appointed as New Zealand taekwondo national team coach by the New Zealand Taekwondo Federation,” Nikpa announced the news on Facebook on Sunday.

“I am committed to giving my skills and knowledge to lead our team to new heights of excellence and to make history.”

Born in Kabul, conflict forced Rohullah Nikpai to flee to Iran where he was first introduced to taekwondo at age 10 in a refugee camp.

He returned to Kabul in 2004 and pursued his training in the field under a government-funded training plan, supported by Olympic Solidarity funding.

Four years later, he became Afghanistan’s first Olympic medallist in any sport when he won bronze in taekwondo at the 2008 Beijing Games.

At London Olympics 2012, Nikpa once again won a bronze medal in taekwondo, the second-ever medal in the country’s history.

Nikpa has previously coached Afghanistan’s junior national taekwondo team. 

He retired from the sport following the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships.

Following his retirement, Nikpa relocated from Afghanistan to be with his wife and daughter in New Zealand’s Auckland city.