Nigeria Taekwondo Faces Bleak Future As Chika Quits After 21 Years
By Niyi Busari
2017 All African Games gold medallist, Chika Chukwumerije (OLY) has called it quit in Taekwondo after 21 years of meritorious service to his father land, Nigeria, BSNSports.com.ng can report.
Chika, 38, said it is high time he shifted his attention and energy to developing his academic career and build his own family after 21 years in the sport. He added that he’s concerned that at 38 he has not married, hence the need to settle down and build his own family.
“In two years, I will be 40 and I am not married yet. It is important that I start building my own family too.” He told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
“After 8 years at the Taekwondo Federation without any added certificate, I have to quit and improve in my academic career and secure my future as a young man.
Reacting to whether he threw in the towel following the heated pressure on him before the Federation election, the Olympic medallist said, “My dad was a politician and can’t shy away from politics. I didn’t run away from the federation election because of the politics in it but I need a life beyond Taekwondo. It is something I have thought about for a very long time. For me, this is more difficult decision than contesting as president of Nigeria Taekwondo Federation.
On how the federation will miss his contribution, he said. “I have put in a lot of knowledge in the sport. All they need to do is to imitate. The federation is not built around one person but a system.
Addressing the media, Chicka stated, “I am worried about Elizabeth Anyanacho mental health and not about her winning medal at the Olympic.” If Nigeria want her to win medal at the next Olympic in Paris, all they need to do is to imitate what I did for her in the last three years and she will do us proud. She needs encouragement and support from Nigeria for her mental health. She should not be the only athletes to focus on. But if she’s handled well, she will win medals for the country.
“Let’s give the new Board of the Taekwondo Federation a benefit of the doubt, they need our support which I will give when they call me to do so but I will not be taking part in the technical department. I believe in five years time when I am stronger and would have achieved in other areas of my life, I will be back to lend my support to the development of the game.
Chika first drew attention in 2003 during the qualifiers for the 2003 All-Africa Games, where he eventually won a bronze medal in the Heavyweight Male category. He qualified for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, but lost his first bout to Pascal Gentil, the eventual bronze medal winner. Nevertheless, after a period of intensive training that was funded by his father, he became one of Nigeria’s best chances for a medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He won a gold medal at the 2007 All-Africa Games in the +80 kg class and qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games soon after. Although he lost to eventual silver-medal winner Alexandros Nikolaidis in the semifinals of the +80kg event, he was entered into the repechage round of the tournament. Here, after defeating Akmal Irgashev of Uzbekistan he claimed a bronze medal in the event, Nigeria’s third medal of the tournament. Four years later he competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics, but did not make it past his first bout.
A gold medalist in 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he also won gold, bronze and silver medals for Nigeria at the All African Games in 2003, 2007 and 2011. He also played a huge role in the making of Olympian, Elizabeth Anyanacho who participated at the just concluded Olympics Games in Tokyo.
He served as Technical Director of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation in the last four years.