Refugee Athlete Career Support

Active since: 2016
Number of athletes supported: 1

With the first Team Refugees taking part in the Olympics 2016 in Rio, IOC set a precedent to a better inclusion of all in elite sports. World Taekwondo and THF strongly support the idea of allowing refugee athletes to participate in international competitions where they would normally not be able to due to a lack of support and/or resources. World Taekwondo updated its competition rules as to allow athletes benefiting from a refugee status to compete in early 2016. Read Rahele’s story from refugee athlete to Belgian citizen to the Rio Olympics 2016 here

Initiated in 2016, THF’s Refugee Athlete Career Support Program aims to support refugee athletes with potential by helping them to evolve in taekwondo at elite level and further pursue their athletic potential.

Individual athletes: Hadi Hassanda

Date of birth: Early 1990s
Place of birth: Afghanistan
Supported by THF since: 2016

Hadi Hassanzada was born in Afghanistan in the early 90’s. His parents left the country to Iran when Hadi was just 8 years old, escaping from the armed conflict that bombed their house and costed their son his right arm. Eventually leaving Iran in search for a better future, Hadi made it on his own to Austria.



Hadi had always been a sports enthusiast, playing football for a local club in Iran, and therefore rapidly joined a football team in Austria. After witnessing his extraordinary physical abilities, his coach suggested he take up Taekwondo and was put under the guidance of a taekwondo coach. He immediately demonstrated his special talent and joined a para-taekwondo club in Vienna. Being part of a club allowed him to start competing internationally.


THF started supporting Hadi in autumn 2016, to help him participate in the European Para-Taekowndo Championships. In 2017, THF continues to help him evolve as an elite athlete and supports his participation in the IWAS Games and the World Para Taekwondo Championships.
Read Hadi’s inspirational story here.


Future plans
THF is looking forward to extend its Refugee Athlete Career Support Program to other refugee taekwondo or para taekwondo athletes.



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