Team Nigeria’s Elizabeth Anyanacho suffered a blow in her quest for an Olympic medal in the early hours of Monday against a much matured and experienced double Olympic medallist, Nur Tartar of Turkey in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Tartar showed class and applied experience winning 12 – 7 against the Nigerian debutant, who proved that the future belongs to her with a performance that stunned many who could not believe she was fighting in her first Olympics.
The defeat left the 22-year-old Anyanacho gutted and she could not help but to succumb to crying.
Sports Minister, Sunday Dare and Chika Chukwumerije were on hand to console her.
A flicker of hope rose for the Nigerian from the rule books to get a chance to fight again if her conqueror gets to the final. That hope, though, did not last long as the Turk was kicked out by an American who was menacing all through handing her a bitter defeat without a point.
A visibly disappointed Anyanacho said after the match: “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.
“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 okay, because the lessons will help my development.”
Chukwumerije, a 2008 Olympic Games bronze medalist in taekwondo, who has been the driving seat of Anyanacho’s meteoric rise in the sport, was not totally disappointed with Anyanacho loss.
“She’s been crying. That shows she badly needed victory,” he said. “In all, her target is now focused for Paris. Between now and three years, she would mature. She has gotten an Olympic experience,” added Chukwumerije, referring to the 2024 Olympics in the French capital.
Chukwumerije himself lost his first Olympics outing in Athens in 2004 but came back smoking in Beijing four years later, kicking his way to a bronze medal.
“Same thing happened to me. I fell into depression after my first loss but luckily, she has people guiding her. It’s a big stage and she has all it takes to now put this defeat behind and show what she has,” Chukwumerije said.