Three time National Champion, Elizabeth Anyanacho said Beijing 2008 Olympics bronze medallist, Chika Chukwumerije convinced her to convert from athletics to taekwondo.
Anyanacho said she took serious interest immediately her school, Government Secondary Schools had Taekwondo as extracurricular activities.
The African Games bronze medallist said that she won gold in her first international outing in Ghana.
She said, “I was 15 when I started athletics and few weeks after I started athletics, I met Uche Chukwumerije and Chika Chukwumerije (OLY) at the stadium. My athletics coach did not come to training so he asked my mentor, Chika Chukwumerije to allow me join his training session.
“He had a project with training students at Government Secondary Schools, and my school in Lugbe was among. So he agreed. I did the sessions. It was plyometrics and a lot of drills I have never seen, and I really enjoyed it.
“From there, I started coming for training and I was combining athletics and Taekwondo. I started competing in grassroots taekwondo events in FCT, I did three in 2016 and two in 2017, and I won all five and I was delighted because I was just a white – yellow belter.
“In 2017, Chika Chukwumerije took me to my first internationals. I was worried because I had not even done any national before, but he believed a lot in my talent. I ended up winning gold medals in Ghana and Senegal and the MVP trophies”.
She further said, “Then came the Nationals; I won the National Sports Festival, National Trials, Best of the Best and other high profile events. So my journey has been really intense training sessions and competitions and outside of competitions, we do a lot of computer training and event managements. I am grateful for my journey so far and dream of achieving a lot more”.
The student of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) said combining education and sports is not as easy as people think.
The gangling 6 ft 2” tall youth said, “My school schedule is very tight, and it is so hectic being a student-athlete. I do not want to lose so much school time that I would have an extra year, and this is why I could not accept some of these invitations as it clashed with important academic periods.
“I would really love to have more international training experiences so I could learn more from other teams and people. Hopefully, when I am done in two years, I can have more international training camping experiences.
“Completing my education is important because an athlete will retire some day and it is this kind of investment in education today that will make it easier in the future as it will increase the opportunities available to one”.
Elizabeth Anyanacho won bronze medal at the 2019 African Games in Morocco.