Few months after securing her place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Minister of Youth and sports, Hon. Sunday Dare today received Elizabeth Anyanacho .
Elizabeth Anyanacho defeated former African champion, Urgence Mouega of Gabon 12-5 points in the -67kg women’s bout at the 2020 Africa Taekwondo Olympic Qualifiers that took place at Complexe Sportif Moulay Abdellah (Palais des sports), Rabat City, Morocco.
Enroute to her Tokyo Olympics qualification, she defeated the five time African champion.
The Hon Minister emphasised he monitored her progress and he supposed to have received her long time ago, but Corona virus caused the delay.
“I appreciate your patience today but more importantly, I knew this is something we wanted to do much more earlier before Covid 19 happened .
“We are grateful to God that we are still alive today and after things started opening up, you hinted that you would Iike for her to be received and I said absolutely.
I recalled that I followed her progress, thanks to you for sending the video, presentation of her and I think I met her once at my office at the National Stadium.
“I never knew that those that are into teakwondo can also be philosophers and speakers. I have to watch when I see teakwondo people maybe they will have same attribute that you have.
“What we are about to do in sports is youth development in science and technology, and anywhere we find our youth excelling, we want to celebrate them.
When you look at the condition in which they excel, almost humanly impossible and I think you represent the very essence of our youth.
“You also validate the fact that the youth of our country have potentials, even beyond themselves because these are people that are lowly supported but still excel. How much more if they get the full support daily.
Whether in basketball, football, athletics, when it comes to sports competitions, you require the same high level of discipline.
What you require in teakwondo, dedication, tactics, discipline, concentration etc is the same thing for other sports.
“So you can’t look down on anybody that excel, for the fact you made history. That you’ve qualified for the Olympics has not diminished you in anyway. We will celebrate you because you have done us proud at different continental levels.
“We are happy that you earned a ticket to go to the Olympics. We hope others will join you shortly. We know couple of others that has also qualified.
‘I just want to say that you make sure you don’t get rusty because when I see you I remember a wrestler, Odunaya, who is also 22 years. You have same height and physique. She has also been training relentlessly.
“I have success, glory and searchlight on the youth and I think this government is making necessary efforts and walking the talk, we received unquantified supports from President Muhammadu Buhari.
You look at Youth Investment Fund. On National Day for the Youth when we celebrate our youth, we still have to celebrate herself and Odunaya in come November 1st.
We are going to celebrate them and they will also be rewarded.
When you also look at the reclassification of sports from recreation to business, this shows that government means business with sports.
“As the policy is approved we will see more resources coming to sports, our athletes will benefit from that in terms of welfare support, traveling for necessary competitions etc.
You see a government that is interested in sports and overall development. I’m sure you are not joking with your education, that is important .
“I have to thank Chukwumerije because I know apart from her there couple of others that he is also working on, you are doing a great job .
“On our part we will support you as much as we can, we have demonstrated that in the past.
“In the next two weeks we are going to start Pre Olympics camp for athletes at different centres, let’s make sure teakwondo also gets a slot either in Abuja or Akure. We want to keep our athletes there for two weeks, just to get them out of their rustiness and get them going again ahead of the next year extended six months camp” he said
“Anyanacho made history as the first Nigeria female to qualified for the Olympics in 16 years and second African female ever.” Sunday Dare concluded.