Ivorian Olympic gold medalist receives new house, cash

CisseThe phrase “one man’s loss is another man’s gain” could not be more apt than in the case of Cheick Sallah Cisse.

The 23-year-old Ivorian broke hearts across Great Britain when he snatched victory from Lutalo Muhammad in the last second of the men’s – 80kg taekwondo Olympic final.

It was the Cote d’Ivoire’s first ever Olympic gold and he has, since Rio, become a national hero.

He has been gifted a new house and a 50 million CFA franc (£65,400) cash bonus.

Not bad for an athlete who only has access to poor facilities and finds it hard to raise funds to meet his training costs.

Cisse insists, however, that his celebrity status would not distract him from his taekwondo title defence in Tokyo in 2020.

“People look at me differently now, I’ve become a national symbol. I can’t walk in the street without being recognised, I’m a star,” he told AFP.

“People approach you, they congratulate you, it’s nice, touching, all this gives me strength to achieve even more.”

Cisse, who stunned the third seed Muhammad with a four-point score right at the death to win 8-6, was honoured by Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara on his return home.

He took the opportunity to ask for an improvement in conditions and coaching for athletes.

“We were supported. The Government did what it could. But we need new laws passed so that athletes can live off their sports,” pleaded Cisse.

His request was heard and Ouattara promised to examine what could be done.

Cisse and the Ivorian Olympic team were invited to the Presidential Palace upon their return where they met Alassane Ouattara.

“We have talented boys and girls in taekwondo. We have to help them,” insisted Cisse.

“I want to tell my little brothers to believe in their dreams. I’ve gone from nothing to become someone, without any help.” – BBC


Print Friendly

Leave a Comment