Olympics: Anyanacho Turns Attention To Paris 2024 As Chukwumerije Harps On More Athletes’ Discovery
By Our Correspondent
Weeks after returning from the just concluded Tokyo Olympics 2020, only Nigeria’s Taekwondo athlete, Elizabeth Anyanacho, has disclosed that the experience she gathered at the games would propel her for better performance in the future.
Anyanacho who spoke during a media briefing in Abuja expressed joy over recent global ranking which placed her 28th in the world and 42nd in Olympic ranking.
She said, “The important part of the ranking is to be top six in the world because that will enable me to qualify automatically for the next Olympics… If I could get lots of competitions, I will be able to hit that target of being at the top 30 to enhance my performance within three years to be able to get enough ranking to be in top six that will help me to qualify automatically for Paris 2024.
“Tokyo was very hard for me, I wanted to spring a surprise even though I had lots of encouragements but I really felt I had the skills and and talents to spring the surprise at the recently concluded Olympics but my opponent is very experienced. It is not only the skills that can take you there, you also have to understand the emotional experience, how to manage tension and the anxiety. Tokyo Olympics have made me to understand this better.”
Also speaking, three-time Olympian and former technical director of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), Engr. Chika Chukwumerije, revealed that the Federation was poised to discover more Olympic-prospect athletes ahead of 2024.
Engr. Chukwumerije who is a certified coach and instructor by the World Taekwondo solicited for more support for Anyanacho to enable her gain adequate points and more experience, adding that Nigeria stands the chance of qualifying more Taekwondo athletes in the next Olympics.
“We are going to do a lot of work to ensure that so many Elizabeths are uncovered across the country. There are also so many wonderful coaches across the country doing very well, and we can identify these athletes and expose them and give them good opportunity. Definitely the sport stands to benefit from it.
“Our target this year is for Elizabeth to be in top 30, then by 2022 we want to push it to top 20, by 2023 top 10 and before the final push and these just require the resources to move around.
“…We have World championship in about six months, that is another new ranking point, so I don’t think we should rest. Also to speak on the mental health because most times when our athletes loose out, we tend to be very critical. We see sports like Gymnastics Uche Ekeh a very young guy, rowing Canoeing.
“Swimming, it was their first time and you don’t say oh you failed; no you didn’t fail, you have taken a journey that maybe other countries have engaged in many years and gained maybe critical experience, so the wonderful Adopt-an-Athletes initiative of the Sports Minister, it is now we now need it…,” he said.