Tchatchet II eyes Commonwealth medal

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Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Weightlifter Cyrille Tchatchet II is aiming for Commonwealth Video games glory in his “residence city” of Birmingham after a compelling journey since he competed in Glasgow in 2014.

The 27-year-old is lifting for England after receiving his citizenship earlier this 12 months. Eight years in the past he disappeared on the Glasgow Commonwealths having represented Cameroon, his nation of delivery.

In between, he competed for the refugee staff eventually 12 months’s delayed Tokyo Olympics, the place he completed tenth. He was additionally the flag bearer for the staff.

“I used to be homeless. Then I used to be a refugee. Now I’m a proud British citizen,” he instructed the Each day Mail.

What would make a medal within the 96kg class much more particular is the position host metropolis Birmingham has performed in his life.

“Birmingham is the primary place the place I settled, the primary place that felt like residence for me in the UK,” he instructed The Occasions.

“Birmingham noticed me throughout my very troublesome moments (he was in a hostel for asylum seekers) and I might be very completely happy for Birmingham to see me stepping on that podium and successful a medal for Crew England.”

Tchatchet II lives in Walsall, simply north of the town. He works as a senior psychological well being practitioner.

He has by no means revealed why he fled the athletes’ village in Glasgow — he instructed The Occasions final week it was linked to “blackmail” — with simply his backpack, containing his weightlifting sneakers and belt.

“It was a really troublesome expertise,” he instructed AFP final 12 months, forward of the Olympics. “I needed to escape. I used to be very younger, very scared. I did not assume a lot in regards to the future.”

‘I did not surrender’

Tchatchet II ended up homeless for 2 months, scraping an existence within the sout-coast metropolis of Brighton — haunted by suicidal ideas.

“I used to be sleeping below this bridge,” he instructed the Each day Mail. “I used to feed on biscuits. With the little cash I had, I used to purchase custard lotions from (grocery store) Lidl.


“I used to be very lonely. I felt ineffective. I believed in regards to the earlier months after I was competing for my nation. Now I discovered myself in a really weak place.”

He admits he thought-about taking his personal life.

“I used to be simply depressed,” he mentioned. “I could not actually see a means out. I used to stare on the sea, day in, time out.

“I felt like I simply wished to leap within the sea and see what occurred.

“I went to the highest of the street someday and was simply desirous about one thing that will be fast.”

Tchatchet II, who took up weightlifting after seeing {a photograph} of an uncle lifting weights, was saved by the Samaritans, a charity supporting these in emotional misery.

The Samaritans alerted the police, who acquired him off the streets into detention centres, which he says have been extra like a “jail.”

He confronted a few turbulent years whereas he waited for his asylum software to be processed however he was granted refugee standing in 2016 and went on to realize a first-class diploma in psychological well being nursing.

“In Cameroon, melancholy is not even a factor. You probably have schizophrenia, they will most likely say you’ve got witchcraft, acquired right into a sect, or paying for a nasty factor you’ve got executed,” he instructed AFP.

“Even right here (in Britain), there’s at all times that stigma: ‘You are a person, you should not have melancholy.’ We have to change our mindsets. It could have an effect on anybody.”

On Monday he’ll undergo his eve-of-competition ritual of consuming celery and having a sizzling bathtub — a far cry from these darkish days below the bridge.

“I’ve had a troublesome journey,” he instructed The Occasions. “I am nonetheless coaching, I did not surrender.”


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