All the possible opponents of Nigeria’s sole representative in the taekwondo event of Tokyo Olympic Games, Elizabeth Anyanacho have emerged following the conclusion of the Asian and European qualifiers at the weekend.
Anyanacho who is the first woman in the last 16 years after Princess Dudu at Athens 2004 to qualify for the Olympic Games via the African Qualification tournament alongside Egypt’s Hedaya Malak will join former World Champion, Ruth Gbagi, in representing the African continent in the female -67kg category when the Olympics gets underway in under 10 weeks.
Undoubtedly, the trio will have kept a close look at the just concluded Asian aualification tournament and the European qualification tournament which concluded a fortnight ago.
At the Asian Taekwondo qualification tournament for Tokyo Olympics, which held in Amman, Jordan between May 20 and 21, 2021, Nigora Tursunkulova of Uzbekistan and Jordan’s Julyana Al-Sadeq clinched the tickets for the female-67kg category.
At the European Taekwondo qualification tournament for Tokyo Olympics, which held in Sofia Bulgaria on 7th May 2021, France’s Magda Wiet-Hénin and Azerbaijan’s Farida Azizova came away with the tickets.
The lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic had forced the postponement of the Asian and European qualification series from 2020.
Other qualified athletes include: Croatia’s Matea Jelic, Great Britain’s Lauren Williams, Turkey’s Nur Tatar Askari, Paige Mc Pherson of the USA and China’s Mengyu Zhang who qualified, alongside Cote D’Ivoire’s Ruth Gbagbi, based on their top six world taekwondo Olympic ranking.
Brazil’s Milena Titoneli and Haiti’s Aliyah Shipman qualified through the Pan American Qualification tournament which held in Heredia, Costa Rica between 11 – 12 March; while Tonga’s Malia Paseka clinched the Olympic ticket for the female -67kg category through the Oceania qualification tournament, which held 29 February at Gold Coast, Australia.
The conclusion of the qualification series ensured 15 out of the 16 slots for the female-67kg have been decided. The last slot will either go to hosts Japan, if they indicated interest in competing in the weight category or will be one of four Tripartite Commission Invitation Places.
Nigeria’s Elizabeth Anyanacho, who will be competing in her first Olympics, will take to the competition ring in Tokyo alongside the other fifteen qualified taekwondo athletes on July 26, 2021, which is scheduled for the female -67kg category.
The Taekwondo event, which will be held at the Makuhari Messe Hall, between July 24 and 27, 2021, will see 128 qualified athletes battle for 32 Olympic medals across eight Olympic categories, including male -58kg, -68kg, -80kg, +80kg and female -49kg, -57kg, -67kg, +67kg categories.