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London 2012: No excuse for our failure -Chukwumerije
TEAM Nigeria captain to the London 2012 Olympics, Chika Chukwumerije, has said that Nigerians should accept the team's failure at the Games in the spirit of sportsmanship.
"We just have to put the memory of London 2012 behind. Personally, I'm deeply hurt like any other Nigerian. We don't have to blame anybody for our failure, rather, we must come together and share the collective pain the way we celebrated the two gold medals we won at Atlanta '96 Olympics; the way we celebrated the International Olympic Committee's decision to upgrade the silver medal we won in the men's relay at Sydney 2000 to gold this year. We must chart a way forward," Chukwumerije said while speaking with sports journalists yesterday in Lagos. The Beijing 2008 Olympics bronze medallist acknowledged that losing his first bout at London 2012 to Cuban Robelis Despaigne in the men’s +80kg taekwondo was highly disappointing.
"I have no excuse to offer even though I had two surgeries before the Games after fractured foot, fractured nose. I have been making slow but positive progress all the while but I am disheartened that my result at London 2012 fell short of expectations. No one can feel disappointed as I do. I got the best in terms of coaching from my Korean coach. In short, I was well prepared for the Games, I was fully fit, I was more composed than before but I encountered hardluck.
"I prepared for London 2012 the way I did for Athens 2004, Algiers 2007 All Africa Games and Beijing 2008 Olympics but I lost due to sheer hardluck. I congratulate my opponent and wish him well. I have always put in 100 per cent commitment to any competition I attend and I have a well-structured programme which I have been following strictly," said the graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
He stated that he has yet to decide on his future as far the game is concerned.
"I always take three to six months to do appraisal of any competition I attend and this will not be different. I will decide on whether I still have the wherewithal to continue as an athlete though I am still young. The guy who won the gold is 32 years but I need time as to decide if I will be willing to continue. I was not under pressure at London 2012 because I always put myself under pressure in the first place, so the external pressure was nothing to me.
"We have to embark on developmental programmes to get young athletes who can come up in a few years time. I don't think I'm the best this country could produce out of over 160million people. My vision is to see how Nigeria can have five athletes at a time who can win a gold in the +80kg.
The 29-year old taekwondoist also clamoured for the retention of the Korean coach, Keum-si Hwan.
"My appeal to the sports authorities is to retain the services of the Korean expert. I gained a lot from him, he is highly disciplined and focused. In fact, we got the best of assistance from the Korean Taekwondo Federation while on a training tour of South Korea because of his contact. Some electronic equipment were also donated to us through his contact and so on.
"Hwan is energetic he follows you to practicalise what he teaches and he remains a great asset to this country. Many up and coming athletes would gain immensely from his wealth of experience if we can retain him," Chukwumerije said.Share
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