Nigeria’s Elizabeth Anyanacho on Monday lost to double Olympic medalist and former world champion, Nur Tartar of Turkey in the -67kg taekwondo event at the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Tartar edged out Anyanacho 12 – 7, capitalising on the inexperience of her Nigerian counterpart.
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With 7 points to her name, Anyanacho showed glimpses of future brilliance against the world champion, but could not shake off the anxiety in time to overcome her top ranked opponent.
Anyanacho will have to wait to see if Tartar makes it to the finals, to be eligible to fight for a conciliatory bronze medal.
“I have cried and I still feel hurt because I wanted to spring a good surprise, despite being four years early in my original Paris 2024 Olympics,” An exhausted Anyanacho said after the gruelling fight.
Some members of the Nigerian delegation, including the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, were at the venue to support the 22-year old Anyanacho.
“You have done well against a world champion. Keep your focus and let’s pray the Turkish champion gets to the finals so you can fight for a bronze. We are here to support you all day,” Dare said after the match.
The taekwondo event has thrown up many upsets including defeats of double Olympic champion, Jade Jones of Great Britain, defending Olympic champion, Hang Jun of South Korea and his compatriot, triple world champion Lee Dae Hyun of South Korea.
So far, Africa has recorded only one medal in the sport through the silver medal won by Mohammed Khalil Jendoubi.
Egypt, Niger Republic, Morocco, Mali whose athletes competed in day one and two have also failed to reach the medal stages.
Anyanacho who is Nigeria’s sole female representative at the Taekwondo event is competing for the first time at the Olympics. (NAN)