Nigeria’s Elizabeth Anyanacho has stated that she participated in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, four years earlier than her original plan of participating at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
She made this known after she lost out to double Olympic Medalist and former world champion, Nur Tartar of Turkey 12-7 in the female -67kg taekwondo event.
“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.
“It has been quite a journey. Truly, a long and challenging journey with a rollercoaster of emotions.
“It will be a difficult few weeks and months ahead of me, because I will keep replaying today in my head, and trying to replay all I could have done. But it is OK, because the lessons will help my development,” she noted.
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.
The Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, who was at the venue to support Nigeria’s second-ever Taekwondo Olympian, reached out to encourage the 22-year-old after the match.
“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,” he stated.
The taekwondo event has thrown up many 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 had recorded only one medal through the silver medal won by Mohammed Khalil Jendoubi
Egypt, Niger Republic, Morocco, Mali whose athletes competed on day one and two have also failed to reach the medal stages.