ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish athlete who has represented various Arab and international nations in kickboxing wants to gain recognition from his fellow Kurds and achieve more success while representing Kurdistan.
Rabih Rasho, a 38-year-old from Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), has won dozens of prominent trophies and medals for Syria and other Arab nations. He has also won honors in Germany, where he has spent the last five years as a refugee. However, Rasho has yet to represent Kurdistan in the kickboxing ring.
From about 2005 to 2013, Rasho was ranked number one and won titles in Syria. Although he is well-known in Syria, his fellow Kurds have not heard of him or his triumphs.
“My problem is that I have trained and fought among Arabs. They know who I am, they recognize my triumphs. However, among my fellow Kurds, I am not that well known,” he told Kurdistan 24.
In 2013, the Kurdish kickboxer ranked number one, representing Syria at a competition in Lebanon. In 2014, he won first place at a competition in Turkey while representing Germany.
It was in 2016 where Rasho said he decided to represent Kurdistan in the kickboxing ring. That year, the 38-year-old won the European Masters championship in Dresden, Germany.
Although he was officially fighting out of Germany, Rasho said he registered under Kurdistan and lifted the Kurdistan national flag after his victory.
After that competition, “I told the sports union [in Syria] that I would only participate under the name of Kurdistan, and they agreed,” he told Kurdistan 24.
Rasho has since thanked the Syrian Kickboxing Union for their help, but told them he would no longer represent Syria but Kurdistan instead. He says he knows no other identity than his Kurdish one.
(Additional reporting by Shawkekan Abi)