Chika Yagazie Chukwumerije standing on the right

Athlete and sports foundation leader - Chika Chukwumerije

From: Nigeria
UK degree: MSc in Operations and Supply Chain Management at the University of Liverpool

Chika Chukwumerije won an olympic bronze medal for taekwondo at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and has won gold, silver and bronze in three All-Africa Games. He has coached the Nigeria national taekwondo team and managed national and international taekwondo events – as well as setting up the Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) to introduce disadvanged young people to the sport of taekwondo.

What do you see as your key achievement in your sporting career?

My proudest achievement is setting up the foundation – although of course, I am also proud of my international sporting successes!

The vision statement of the foundation is to produce educated champions and inspire the future. We run training workshops, competitions and scholarships.

In three years, participants of our training workshops have gone on to become national champions and two went on to win the 2014 Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships.

We introduced taekwondo to four carefully selected schools for underprivileged students. As part of this, we also give them free computer lessons and management courses, things that they might never have access to otherwise.

Why would a taekwondo champion choose to study operations and supply chain management in the UK?

Many fundamental concepts of my activities now are based on my study at university in the UK.

The policy of the university made it possible to combine sports with education, without any of it suffering.

I wanted to learn more about management so that I could apply this to my sporting life, so this was perfect for me.

I spent time in the university gym and kept up with my training – and still managed to graduate with the top distinction in my year.

What were the most useful lessons you learned on your course?

The support and encouragement I received gave me the confidence to know I could help young people do the same back home.

Many fundamental concepts of my activities now are based on my study at university in the UK.

Our lecturers were big on designing end-to-end processes, applying critical thinking to problems and adding value by making all processes more efficient.

Now, everything I do is about adding value. With the foundation, we have, in essence, taken young people with low confidence, no skill set, little focus but a tremendous amount of energy and sent them in a direction where they will be of great value to society.

What impact have you had on your country since studying in the UK?

Taekwondo is constantly in the spotlight through the activities of my foundation. This is good for the careers of upcoming sports men and women.

Nigeria as a country has also risen in its sporting influence in the West African region. My foundation hosts an annual all-Africa taekwondo competition (the CCSF Open Tournament), which has been said to be the best in the region.

The individuals who take part in our workshops have grown in confidence and that makes me feel very satisfied.

Chika was the winner of the Alumni Award for Social Impact, Nigeria, 2016.

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