Nigeria’s Elizabeth Anyanacho has qualified for the Taekwondo event at this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics, her first ever Olympics, after securing the ticket on the opening day of the African qualification tournament in Saturday in Rabat Morocco, Completesports.com reports.
Anayanacho, 20, a Statistics undergraduate of the Federal University of Technology secured the historic berth after defeating five-time continental medalist, Gabon’s Urgence Mouega.
The result makes Anayanacho the first female to qualify for the Taekwondo event of the Olympics in 16 years, and the second ever female after Princess Dudu’s qualification for the Athens 2004 Olympics.
In the men’s category Nigeria’s Benjamin Okuomose narrowly failed to clinch the Olympic ticket after narrowly losing 17 – 19 to former World Champion and Olympic Silver medalist, Anthony Obame of Gabon.
Okuomose had defeated Mozambique 10 – 0 in the opening round before the semi-finals defeat to Obame.
In the bronze medal match against Kenya’s Newton Maliro Nambani, Okuomose won Kenyan 27 – 2.
The bronze medal winner is on stand-by in case of any doping infractions by the eventual finalists.
At the pre-tournament head of team meeting, organizers confirmed that only finalists will clinch the Olympic tickets to Tokyo, and finals matches would not be held given the non-significance it
Hostilities will continue today (Sunday) for the remaining eight tickets, with Nigeria’s duo of African Champion Chinazum Nwosu and Ifeoluwa Ajayi poised to join teammate Elizabeth Anyanacho on the winning ticket.
Nwosu Number who is the tournament’s number two seed and is the current African Champion, will meet the winner between number seven seed, Rwanda’s Aline Ndacyayisenga and Algeria’s Nesrine Soiad Soualili.
The African Champion needs to win two crucial matches to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Ajayi who is the tournament’s number five seed and the 2019 Nigeria Open gold medalist, will meet Madagascar’s Steve Rakotobe in the round of 16, whom he needs to defeat before meeting the winner between Benin Republic’s Jehudiel Kiki and Sierra Leone’s Suliaman Suwaiabu.
The upcoming taekwondo star needs to win three matches to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic, including a potential and crucial semi-final qualifying match against current African Champion and the number one seed, Ismael Yacouba of Niger Republic.
By James Agberebi
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