Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF)’s stakeholders have defended Olympic medalist and national taekwondo coach, Chika Chukwumerije, who was accused of abusing and assaulting female athletes at the 2015 All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.
The allegation against Chukwumerije followed a report by the former Secretary General of the Taekwondo Federation of Nigeria, Monday Obot, acting on a complaint by Ayodele Temitope, alleging how Chukwumerije slapped three female athletes- Esther Uzoukwu, Ifeoma Dennis and a Police officer, Joy Ekhator- while they were training for the Games.
But the allegation was bluntly denied by some of the athletes and coaches in separate letters addressed to the minister and copied to the World Taekwondo federation and Nigeria Olympic Committee.
Six of the athletes, which incidentally included Dennis, who represented Nigeria at the All Africa Games, five years ago, categorically stated that Chukwumerije did not abuse, assault or slap any female athletes in camp.
Addressing reporters on the allegation, the former NTF head of coaching crew, Anthony Anafulu, whose name was also mentioned in the allegation, said the allegation was unfounded, false and calculated attempt to assassinate Chukwumerije character.
Anafulu noted that without Chukwumerije’s dedication, passion and input, Nigeria would not have achieved the results obtained at the Games, describing allegation as a political vendetta ahead of the 2021 Sports Federation elections.
“Before the last board, the allegation reared up and now, it’s coming again just before another election,” Anaful stated.
He added that as a board member and coach in camp there was no invitation to any panel of inquiry set up to clarify the matter, saying the plot stemmed from an ego war between Chukwumerije and a former president of the federation, George Ashiru and a scheme rooted in jealousy to tarnish the reputation of the Olympiad, whom he said had invested so much in taekwondo.
Also two of the national coaches to the All Africa Games, Abdul-Malik Mohammed, and John Victor in separate letters addressed to the Minister, said they did not witness the slapping of female athletes in the camp.
Mohammed said that he was not aware if a disciplinary committee was set on the said matter as he was not invited.