Monday, August 25, 2008

Sponsor Number 4 pledges in Afs!

Sponsor Number 4 introduces the Afghan currency with a kind pledge of AFG 10 per 100 g. Thanks very much, Sponsor Number 4!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thank you Donor Number 3!

Donor Number 3 has added a $0.125 per 100 g pledge. Thank you Donor Number 3! This brings us up to $2.425 per 100 g for a wonderful $203.70 if I can lose the 9.6 kg target weight. And as I've already lost 800 g in three days I feel on-track... though I suppose it's ridiculously early to extrapolate yet.

By the way, people have stopped me in the street to ask how they could pay their pledges on January 1. It may depend on the Afghan charity choices - which will be made by the highest pledging Afghan and non-Afghan donors (for 50% of the total pledges each) but I imagine PayPal could play a role.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Donor number 2 pledges $0.30 per 100 g

Thank you Donor number 2!

Total pledges = $2.30 per 100 g.

This is starting off very well... I hope I can deliver on the weight-loss.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kick-off!! 84.3 kg on 2008 08 23!

As officially witnessed by Megan Holleran (friend, colleague and encourager at work) my weight just now was 83.4 kg. That means I am 8.4 kg over my December 31 target of 75 kg.

That means I need to lose about half a kilogram per week. Gulp. No wait, gulping has been my problem...

First donation pledge

Donor number 1 has kindly pledged $2 per 100 g! Thank you, Donor number 1! I'll try to make this cost you a lot!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

2008 weight-loss campaign - introduction

I need to lose weight (I'm about 85 kg and only 168 cm) and I've set a target of getting down to 75 kg before January 1, 2009.

Will you help to motivate me?

I'm inviting all my friends to pledge to donate so much per 100 g I lose to an Afghan charity. For instance, if somebody pledges US $0.25 per 100 g and I manage to lose 11 kg they would donate $27.50. If somebody in Afghanistan pledges AFG 10 per 100 g and I lose that 11 kg they would donate AFG 1,100.

I propose that half of all money raised should go to an Afghan charity nominated by the Afghan individual who pledges the most per 100 g and the other half of all the money raised should go to an Afghan charity nominated by the non-Afghan individual who pledges the most.

I will have an official witnessed kick-off weighing on Saturday 23rd. That will give me about 18 weeks to lose the approximately 10 kg I'm targetting.

Please e-mail me ( me if you'd like to pledge. I need to know the amount you will donate (in USD or AFG) per 100 g and optionally, the Afghan charity you hope the donations will beneift. (Remember, the actual choice will belong to the Afghan and the non-Afghan who pledge the most.) I'll keep your name private.

I will post progress reports, tales of agonizing starvation - or triumph, as well as tables of donations potentially raised here. (Please post encouraging comments!)

Please wish me luck - and please pledge!

Afghan triumph amid misery

Most recent news about Afghanistan has been sad - for instance, three friends of a dear friend of ours were the international aid workers senselessly killed by the Taliban last week - but we are now rejoycing this Afghan triumph in Bejing:

Taekwondo fighter grabs Afghanistan' s first Olympic medal

Rohullah Nikpai hoped his Olympic taekwondo bronze medal would help bring life back to Afghanistan through sports after three decades of conflict.

"After the long-time war at home, I have won this medal. I think it is a good message for the peace and future of Afghanistan," the 21-year-old said after grabbing Afghanistan' s first Olympic medal in any sport Wednesday.

He beat world champion Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain 4-1 in a -58kg bronze-medal play-off.

"My training situation is like the situation surrounding my country," said Nikpai, who started training in the Korean-born martial art 11 years ago following his older brother Habib.

The Nikpai brothers usually train in Kabul where he said "sports facilities are not so good." He has trained under a Korean coach in a pre-Olympic training camp in South Korea.

"We've tried hard to get this result, and I hope it will help improve sports in my country," Nikpai said.

One of the four athletes here from Afghanistan, Nikpai knelt and kissed the mat after overwhelming Ramos.

"I hope to try harder and go to the next Olympics to produce a better result," said Nikpai, who grabbed the Asian championship bronze after finishing 33rd at the world championships here last year.

An Olympic sport since Sydney 2000, taekwondo is popular in Afghanistan, where it is by far the most practised combat sport.

Afghanistan' s previous best Olympic finish was a fifth place by Mohammed Ebrahimi in the 1964 freestyle wrestling.

Afghanistan' s most notable link with the Games is that the 1979 Soviet invasion of the country led to a US-led international boycott of the games in Moscow the following year.

Nikpai was to be rewarded with 50,000 dollars promised by an Afghan mobile phone company to whoever gets on the podium in Beijing.

His teammate, 23-year-old Nesar Ahmad Bahawi, who won a 68kg silver at the World Taekwondo Championships last year, was to compete here on Thursday.

A hero's welcome will await him in Kabul after President Hamid Karzai called Nikpai after his victory, an aide said.

The medal was also cheered on by fellow athletes in Kabul as televisions interrupted normal broadcasting to show images of the athlete's winning match.

"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."

Once Nikpai returned home, he would be rewarded "appropriately," he added.