Blind Afghan interpreter runs London Marathon
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Afghan Interpreter Blinded By IED Completes London Marathon

"I have never surrendered to my blindness and I want to inspire others" - Wali Noori

Blind Afghan interpreter runs London Marathon

In 2009, Wali Noori was in his second year as a translator and cultural advisor to the British Army in his homeland of Afghanistan.

While working alongside 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment he was blinded by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Wali explained that he thought he would be killed by the blast and said: 

"I thought I was ready to leave this earth, but that was no big deal, as I had fulfilled my  goal of working with the British Army to help my homeland."

This explosion happened during what was to be the last of a series of continuous engagements with several different fighting formations, based everywhere from Sangin to Kajaki.

Wali Noori (centre) In Afghanistan
Wali Noori (centre) In Afghanistan

In the confusion of battle, Wali was mistakenly airlifted to an Afghan hospital by an American helicopter.

It was to be months later - including time in an American hospital, that Wali was at last back in the care of the British, but despite prolonged medical treatment, he remained blind.

Wali, a keen boxer and runner, was devastated when he was not allowed to continue as a translator, but then came the phone call which changed his life. He and his family were invited to re-settle in England. 

"I said yes, I want to come, to save my life, it was good news." 

Wali Noori (left) Colchester Marathon
Wali Noori (left) Colchester Marathon

Once he settled in Colchester, Wali began pounding the treadmill to keep fit. His heart was set on running races in aid of British Blind Sports.

Help For Heroes managed to find Wali a running partner, Gareth, and his first goal was to get around the Colchester Half Marathon, then on to the London Marathon - which they both completed - Wali said he is disappointed in their time of 4hrs 36mins and is now aiming to be selected for The Invictus Games.

He wants to prove that blindness should not stop people from achieving their goals and said: 

"I have never been defeated by my blindness, If I can do these races and get more famous than I am at this stage. My goal is to be an inspirational speaker."