Nigeria: Anyanacho, Offiong End Their Olympic Dreams in Tears

27 July 2021

Taekwondo player, Elizabeth Anyanacho and table tennis star, Edem Offiong were the latest Team Nigeria athletes to exit the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Anyanacho in particular 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.

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 however failed to come true as the Turk was kicked out by an American who was menacing all through the clash. It was a bitter defeat for the Turkey athlete as failed to record a point.

Chukwumerije, a 2008 Olympic Games bronze medallist in taekwondo, who has been at the driving seat of Anyanacho's meteoric rise in the sport, was not totally disappointed with her 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 matured. 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 for Elizabeth (Anyanacho), 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.

Also yesterday, Nigeria's Edem Offiong crashed out of the ladies' singles of the table tennis event.

After taking the first set at 15-13, Offiong miserably lost the succeeding four sets to USA's Zhang Lily to crash out with a 4-1 loss.

The Chinese-American won both the second and third set at 11-2, while the fourth set ended at 11-8 and the fifth at 11-6.

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