Australian Taekwondo club owner, Ali Rahimi, has been honoured for his valuable contribution to martial arts and the local community, receiving the Holt Australia Day Award.
Rahimi was one of 30 winners who were presented with an award for their significant contribution to their local community by the Federal Member for Holt, Anthony Byrne MP, at the Hallam Community Theatre yesterday.
Initially shocked when called about his award win, Rahimi is incredibly proud to be recognised and see Taekwondo take centre stage.
"I got a shock when they called; I said, what, are you sure? I thought, this isn't real, but it was. It was very exciting," said Rahimi
"I've had many trophies and medals and everything like that, but not something like this. This is my first time in Australia, and it was wonderful. I'm proud. I'm proud of the community, of Australia, and the people around us, everyone."
Rahimi, who owns the World Taekwondo Centre in Victoria's southeast, was recognised for his work in the community and Taekwondo, including representing Australia at many international tournaments as a first-class referee.
Rahimi was also recognised for his role in getting eight Afghanistani taekwondo athletes who fled Afghanistan and the Taliban to safety. Rahimi, who sponsored the girls, has supported them in their integration into a new country, new community and a new way of life, with the assistance of the Victorian Taekwondo community and local Afghan community.
"They awarded me for work in the local community, teaching Taekwondo for many, many, years and also presenting Australia in the many international tournaments, "
"They also knew I sponsored eight girls from Afghanistan, so they mentioned that as well when they called me up."
The Holt Australia Day Award recognises and honours outstanding people in the local community who consistently go above and beyond in their contribution as a volunteer, professional or community member.