Beijing Olympic taekwondo bronze medallist Chika Chukwumerije has leapt to the defence of fast-rising star, Elizabeth Anyanacho who represented Nigeria in taekwondo in the just concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
It will be recalled the 22-year-old Anyanacho lost to double Olympic medalist and former world champion, Nur Tartar of Turkey in the female – 67kg in her first-ever Olympics.
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Speaking with journalists, Chukwumerije said Anyanacho just as other first-time Olympians didn’t fail in their respective events but gathered enough experience to do better in future tournaments.
He further said there are plans by the federation to unearth more talents in taekwondo that will fight for honours while advocating for sponsors to key into the adopt-an-athlete program of the sports ministry.
“We didn’t fail as first time Olympians. We simply took the journey some other countries had taken several years. It is now we need the adopt-an-athlete program to prepare us well ahead of the world championship and Paris 2024.
“The target for her is Paris and I put her under a lot of pressure. In Paris, we won’t have the excuse to say she doesn’t have the experience. I congratulate on her current ranking. Her Olympic ranking is 42 while her world ranking is 28.
“Elizabeth won’t be the only name to be heard from taekwondo. we are going to do a lot to discover new talents across the country. If we identify these talents and expose them to better opportunities, definitely Nigeria and fans will benefit tremendously,” he said.