KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghanistan Olympic Committee has elected entrepreneur Fahim Hashimy as president in a move it describes as its first step as a democratic, independent body.
The Afghan NOC released a statement Thursday saying Hashimy had been unanimously elected. Previously, the Afghan committee came under the jurisdiction of the Afghanistan National Sports Directorate and had limited access to international competition. The Olympic Council of Asia pushed for the independent elections in a bid to bring the country in line with the statutes for full IOC members.
"This is an extraordinary moment for the Olympic Movement in Afghanistan," the 33-year-old Hashimy said. "It is a new day for our National Olympic Committee and the democratic processes of our country.
"The people of Afghanistan believe in the Olympic Movement. We believe in the positive, life changing opportunities the Olympics brings to our people. We believe in peace through sport."
Hashimy said Afghanistan was looking forward to full participation in the Youth Olympic Games at Nanjing, China in August and the Asian Games at Incheon, South Korea starting in September.
Hashimy is the chief executive of the Hashimy Group, which has interests in media, aviation, mining and construction.
Afghanistan has sent athletes to recent Olympics and has earned two bronze medals. Rohullah Nikpai won the country's first Olympic medal when he finished third in his taekwondo division in Beijing in 2008. Nikpai won another bronze in taekwondo in London in 2012.