Malian Taekwondo star Ismael Coulibaly is fast becoming a phenomenon. Recently crowned the African 80kg champion, he is now heading to Rio hoping to win the West African nation’s first Olympic medal.
Based in Montpellier in the south of France, Coulibaly has opted finishing off his training at home.
In the Malian capital Bamako, he trains every day in preparedness for an Olympic dream.
“Being young I stopped my studies for this sport, honestly i regretted alot, but on the other hand, I don’t regret it, because I am one of the best athletes in the world, and for that i don’t have many regrets and i know that my family is proud of me. i am going to continue fighting, I promise to win an Olympic medal and God willing i will do it. Ismael Coulibaly said.
Ismael maintains a strong link with his first trainer Drissa who spotted him at the age of 5.
“The purpose of the sport is not just learning how to fight but its also about humanity. we educate the children as if they were our own. You have to take them as your own in other to be able to encourage and guide them in their work. thats been the case for Ismael, he went to fight, he was beaten, he got discouraged, he cried, but inspite of that, he never stopped,“Drissa Coulibaly, first coach of Ismael Coulibaly added.
The Taekwondo competition kicks off in Rio August 17.
Coulibaly who won bronze at the World Taekwondo Championships in 2015 will be aiming his kicks higher this time.