The World Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships is taking place in Belfast, Northern Ireland between 4 and13 April 2009. The African bronze medal title holder from the continent’s last junior fencing championship held in Bamako, Mali, Dulcie Nodjo, is stuck in Lome as her counterparts from other continents comfortably make their way to Ireland. She has been refused a visa.
All steps taken by the Togolese Fencing Federation (FTE) to obtain visas have proved futile. As a result, the delegation is at its wits end. “The Chancery of Northern Ireland has asked us to return in 28 days to get our visa (…) This means that the competition, which runs from April 05 to 13 this month will be over and done with by the time we return”, Eric Aménouvé, Vice-President of the FTE, bitterly announced to Afrik-news.com.
According to sources close to the federation, there is every indication that the Irish Chancery has deliberately refused to issue visas to the delegation, “lest they disappear into the wild once the competition is over in Belfast!”
For Nodjo Dulcie, a bronze medalist for Africa, the disappointment is too mean to fathom. “It’s as if I was cut away. I am really prepared for this competition. All I want is to prove that Togo is also able to compete with the major fencing nations,” said a very sad Dulcie. “The Government’s support to promote our federation and the discipline in Togo is appearing illusional,” said a revolted member of the Federation.
The fairly new FTE, created in 4 October 2008, has already banked a continental bronze medal, a fair play award as well as a silver medal awarded to the Togolese national coach, Victor Laméga, in 2003 in Senegal.