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Maria Uchenna Raphael, a Taekwondo athlete, was murdered in a car accident in Nasarawa State.
The Deceased was killed by a lorry on Friday, August 26, in Lafia, the state capital, after winning a silver medal for team Nasarawa in the just completed Bayelsa Open Taekwondo.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development revealed that shortly after arriving home from the championship in Yenagoa, which ended on August 24th, 2022, the deceased had gone to buy some groceries along UAC road.
“Words fail us as we were greeted today by the ugly news on the sudden death of one of our illustrious medal-winning athletes, Maria Raphael,” the statement read.
“We gathered from reliable sources that Maria was crushed to death by an articulated vehicle (trailer) along UAC road, Lafia, while on her way to purchase some items from a grocery store in the evening of Friday, 26th August, 2022, few hours after returning home from a championship in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, where she represented Nasarawa State.
“At the 15th edition of the Panamai West African and Cottage Mills Taekwondo Championship held early this month in Lagos, the late Maria Raphael was one of the athletes who inspired Team Nasarawa to finish 4th position on the medals’ table as she won a Bronze medal in the -46kg Women’s Category at the Championship.
“She also won silver medal for Team Nasarawa at the recently concluded Bayelsa Open Taekwondo Championships held from 21st to 24th August, 2022, in Yenagoa, South-South Nigeria.
“The Deceased was a committed, dedicated and focused athlete, winning medals of different categories for Nasarawa State, ranging from Cadet, Junior, and until her untimely demise, Senior Category
“Maria brought lots of glory and honour to Nasarawa State at different sporting championships.
“Her demise is an unquantifiable loss to everyone of us at the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and Nasarawa State as a whole, while her immense contributions will be sorely missed.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her immediate family, loved ones, fellow athletes and the sports world in general. We pray Almighty God to grant her soul eternal repose in heaven.”