Olympics medalist and Technical Director Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, Chika Chukwumereije has commended the Minister of sports and youth development, Sunday Akin Dare for leading the country to a successful outing in Tokyo that surpassed the country’s past participations.
Chukwumereije who single handedly groomed the country’s only Taekwondo athlete to the Games, Elizabeth Anyanacho also commended the athletes for truly giving their best to make the country proud at a time that all hope seemed lost.
The Abia state born former athlete while assessing the performance of Team Nigeria to the recently concluded Games said, “I was in London 2012, I had to sit before a press conference as the team captain, and apologized to the entire nation that I am sorry because we didn’t win any medal. In Rio they won one medal and in Tokyo they won two medals and one of the medals came from a sport that never won a medal.
“So statistically we have done better. And when you look at the statistics no African nation did better than what she did before in the Olympics. If you look at Kenya, Ethiopia and even South Africa, none did better than she has done before. I think Nigeria did well. I think also that the honourable minister did well.”
Chukwumereije who would always speak frankly said the country also had some lows at the Games as 10 athletes from the Athletic Federation were dropped from participating in the Games they were already in Tokyo for.
He maintained that whatever led to that disgrace was simply a federation issue not a ministry issue, saying “If you know how sports works, it’s a federation issue. That infighting caused them because who was getting the emails? So one camp was getting the emails, why didn’t they send it to the athletes. I am not blaming any camp but I just saying whenever there is discontent in the federation, the athletes will suffer.”
The member of the dissolved Taekwondo Federation board also noted that in his federation, TFN, there was a big fight during the last election and the federation is still suffering it till date but warned that there is no where that war is good.
“That is the first thing to look at when talking about what happened to the 10 athletes. The second one is the athletes’ whereabouts. I know that prior to the Olympics, they had at least two seminars and they insisted on the whereabouts and they were very emphatic. For an athlete, if you are leaving Abuja today for Lagos there is an Application for them to sign in and say this is where I will be.”
Explaining further, the Olympics bronze medalist said the affected athletes also have a share of the blame because most of them won’t do it. They would just assume the secretariat would do it. But no, that application is for the athlete.
“You are the one that will explain your movement and I the ministry painstakingly taught them that deliberately. So they must take the blame. It is like doping. Doping blames the that anything that enters the body of the athlete is the athlete’s fault even if somebody injected the athlete. So it’s just the same thing. The whereabouts form is for the athletes and they are educated on this,” he said.