Coach Chika Chukwumerije giving a pep talk to Elizabeth Anyanacho during the 2020 Olympics Taekwondo -67kg fight vs Turkey’s Nur Tarkar. PHOTO CREDIT: @naija_lizzy/Instagram
Nigeria’s representative in taekwondo, Elizabeth Anyanacho has been beaten by a double Olympic Medalist and former world champion, Nur Tartar of Turkey in the female -67kg bout at the Tokyo Olympics.
Tartar who edged out Anyanacho 12 – 7 used her Olympic and world experience to capitalise on the inexperience of her Nigerian counterpart who is only making a debut at the Olympics.
With the seven points she achieved, 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. She has also made a record as Nigeria’s second ever Taekwondo Olympian.
Anyanacho will have to wait to see if Tartar makes it to the finals, to be eligible to fight for a conciliatory bronze medal.
The 22-year old Nigeria confirmed it has been quite a journey with valuable lessons.
“I lost to Turkey 7 – 12. Turkey then lost in golden point to USA after a 1 – 1 draw. This means I am totally out of fighting for a podium place at the Tokyo Olympics.
I have cried and I still feel hurt because I wanted to spring a good surprise, despite being 4 years early to my original Paris 2024 Olympics,” Anyanacho said in a post on her official Instagram handle.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, who was at the venue fight venue had comforting words for the athlete.
“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 bronze. We are here to support you all day,” the Sports Minister said.
The taekwondo event has witnessed some upsets including defeats of the 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 taekwondo, a silver medal won by Tunisia’s Mohammed Khalil Jendoubi. Athletes from Egypt, Niger Republic, Morocco, Mali also competed on day one and two have crashed out.