Nigeria’s promisingTaekwondo star, Elizabeth Anyanacho,
has taken a massive leap in the new world rankings released by World Taekwondo ruling body, moving 23 places to break into the top 30 and now ranked 28th in the world.
The upward swing for Anyanacho is coming on the heels of her fine show at the just concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympics where she lost in the round of 16 to former world champion and double Olympic medalist, Nur Tartar of Turkey.
The 22-year-old star saw her Olympic ranking improve to 42nd in the world from the 65th position in the latest world ranking.
The improved Olympic ranking will be a booster to Anyanacho’s target to qualify automatically for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as qualification rules allocate automatic qualification slots to the top six Olympic-ranked athletes, in the months leading up to the Olympics.
A look at the World Taekwondo calendar already shows upcoming ranked events in Poland, Albania, Pakistan, Netherlands, France, Italy, Fujairah and a host of other nations.
Anyanacho’s ability to improve her current ranking will be depending on securing resources to attend these events.
In clinching the Olympic ticket, Anyanacho made history as she became the second ever female Olympic-bound taekwondoist for Nigeria, after Princess Dudu last achieved the feat at the Athens 2004 Olympics.
The Federal University of Technology undergraduate has nurtured a steadily rising profile since making her debut on the competitive scene just four years ago at the Ghana International Open in 2017, where she won a Gold.
She followed the performance with a Gold at the 2017 Dakar International Open before winning gold medals at back-to-back editions of the Nigeria Taekwondo International Open in 2017 and 2019. In-between, she won a Silver at the 2018 West African University Games and became national champion when she clinched a gold at the Abuja 2008 National Sports Festival, defeating two former national champions en route to a famous victory.
The 300-level Statistics student cemented her announcement on the big stage when she clinched an inaugural continental medal by winning a bronze medal for Nigeria at the 2019 All African Games. She followed up by winning a bronze at the World Taekwondo G-1 ranked Fujairah Open in February 2020 before slamming a home run two weeks later when she clinched the Tokyo 2020 Olympic ticket.
In June 2021, she defeated the current African Champion Hedaya Malak in the semi finals of the African Taekwondo Championships before narrowly losing to former world champion, Ruth Gbagbi of Cote D’Ivoire in the finals.
Leading up to the Olympics, the nascent Elizabeth claimed another major international gold medal when she won the World Taekwondo G-2 ranked Beirut Open, the last event on the WT calendar before the Tokyo Olympics game.
Elizabeth’s debut at the Tokyo Olympics has given her critical Olympic experience, and critical Olympic qualifying points, that can be robustly built on towards preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics, if supported with the adequate resources.