Nigeria’s Chika Yagazie Chukwumerije, a Taekwondo practitioner and bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games writes a special poem to raise the spirit of the country’s Taekwondo Team, that recently failed to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic games.
Read the head-moving piece below:
Dear Nigeria Olympic Taekwondo Team, It is true that you did not qualify, but it does not, in any way whatsoever, take away from the tremendous amount of personal efforts that you have put in all these months.
We are exceedingly proud of you FIVE! We are witnesses to the fire that burned in your chest, and the hard work that kept you well from rest.
We are witnesses to a system that did not protect and support you as well as it should have. We have watched with admiration as you trudged on with no whimpers, and bore the burden with only a shrug and yet more training.
Some of you left sick parents at home. Some of you left your pregnant wives all alone. Some of you slept on the floor at Old Parade Ground. Most of you had no kobo in their bank accounts, all got no allowances.
Yet nothing distracted or prevented you from training almost every single day for the past three months.
Yes, we are witnesses! Our dear Champions, come back home with your heads high, knowing that you did us proud. Come back home with your backs straight, knowing that you gave all you had.
Though the pain sears through your chest, know that it was a blow to us all and it is in anguish that all of our heart that burns.
In victory and in defeat, we must together stand. There are many things to be said, yet much more to be learnt, but this is no time for such talk.
Only hugs and silence at this point will do, For on the road left behind lies, broken dreams and shattered hopes.
But know this; the respect, love and admiration we have for you, and the bond of friendship that has been formed will outlast these bitter memories sooner than you think.
Family will always be family. For us, Taekwondo remains family. We stand with a fantastic coach with a golden heart, John Victor. We stand with our Commonwealth and African Champion, Jamilu Mohammed.
We stand with our African Champion, Uzoamaka Otuadinma. We stand with our female pride, Chinazum Nwosu.
We stand with our young brave warrior, Edwin Samson. Come back home and come back quick, you are our heroes (and heroines)any day of the week!
By Chika Yagazie Chukwumerije