Afghan athlete wins first Olympic medal ever for his country
Meanwhile, Afghani people are preparing a hero’s welcome for Nikpai when he comes back home, albeit many are still not aware of his victory due to sparse media coverage and frequent electricity outages.
Many Afghans were not immediately aware of Nikpai's win because power is intermittent and only some households have access to cable television in the strife-plagued country.
"It's a time of big celebrations for all of us. I'm so happy that despite the war, lack of sports facilities and training Nikpai managed to secure a medal," shopkeeper Khair Mohammad said.
Afghanistan was suspended from the Olympic movement in 1999 because the-then ruling Taliban was not internationally recognised and did not allow the participation of female athletes.
The country missed Sydney 2000 but was allowed to compete in Athens 2004 when it did send female athletes.
Afghanistan's previous best finish was a fifth place in wrestling at the Tokyo Games in 1964.
An Olympic sport since Sydney 2000, taekwondo is popular in Afghanistan, where it is by far the most practised combat sport.
"We've tried hard to get this result, and I hope it will help improve sports in my country," Nikpai said.
"The president called him and congratulated him," Karzai's chief spokesman Homayun Hamidzada told AFP in Kabul. The president "encouraged him and told him he had brought pride to Afghanistan."
Nikpai was to be rewarded with 50,000 dollars promised by an Afghan mobile phone company to whoever gets on the podium in Beijing.