Olympic Medalist Chika Chukwumerije and Tokyo 2020 Olympic debutant Elizabeth Anyancho paid a courtesy visit to the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO) Owerri,
Prof. Mrs. Nnenna Oti.
The duo were accompanied by the Imo state Commissioner of Sports Hon. Daniel Chike Ogu, and were warmly received by the Vice Chancellor who was duly represented by the deputy vice chancellor Prof. Emeka Emmanuel Oguike.
Elizabeth, who is a 400 level student of Statistics of the varsity, represented Nigeria at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Taekwondo female -67kg category.
In doing so, Elizabeth became the first woman in 16 years to represent Nigeria at the Olympics in the Taekwondo event and the second woman ever in the nation’s history.
Chukwumerije on the other hand, who graduated with a B.Eng Mechanical from FUTO in 2005, was a bronze medalist for Nigeria in the Olympics held in Anthens held in 2004.
Chukwumerije expressed gratitude to the University management for extending the needed support to Elizabeth 15 years after.
“I was in FUTO when I participated in my first Olympics – Athens 2004. This University fully supported me and made it possible for me at that time to also succeed outside my academics.
I am thrilled that FUTO has maintained it’s policy of supporting students developing their talents outside of academia, It’s something other universities can emulate.”
Elizabeth who returned to the university a fortnight ago also added her voice in appreciation to the school authorities for their support.
“I want to thank the University for supporting my Olympic journey. It was very difficult to combine my studies and training. The university gave me exemptions and permissions at critical times that enabled me train and qualify for the Olympics and participate at the Olympics.”
Responding to the courtesy visit, Prof. Emeka Oguike commended Anyanacho for her Olympic debut, and reiterated the University’s commitment to student development.
“We commend Elizabeth for her performance at the Tokyo Olympics, despite being four years early in her training plan. She is a good example to our students to work hard on all fronts. The University will continue to create an enabling environment to ensure students can develop on various fronts.”
The Deputy Vice Chancellor also lauded the historic Olympic history of the University.
“We are proud that a FUTO Alumna trained a FUTO student to become an Olympian. We are the only university to boast of having two Taekwondo Olympians and one Olympic Medalist. It is a history we are proud of and hope we can build on in the future.”
Prof. Oguike further expeessed high hopes that females in the community could be inspired with the ventures and achievements of Elizabeth.
“It is befitting to also note that the first female Vice Chancellor of FUTO is welcoming the first female Taekwondo Olympian of FUTO. This will serve as a source of inspiration to female students of the institution and the entire community.”
Commissioner of Sports in Imo State, Hon. Ogu Chike, congratulated the University and Anyanacho on the sporting feat.
“Imo state is proud of Anyanacho, and proud of FUTO’s support in producing two Taekwondo Olympians. We must find ways to harness this experience to ensure the state keeps producing top elite athletes across various sports.”
Chukwumerije presented official pins and Tokyo 2020 token to the University leadership, as a show of affection for the University’s support for Taekwondo at the university.
Also present at the courtesy visit was the Dean of Student Affairs, Prof C.E Orji; FUTO Director of Sports, Mr Dominic Obichere; and former board member of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, Dr Mrs Pat Anyanwu.
FUTO is the oldest university of technology in Nigeria. It was established in 1980 with the composition and appointment of the first provisional council made by the then president, Shehu Shagari.