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TCHATCHET Delivers Message of Hope at Olympic Games

At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, TCHATCHET II Cyrille, then 18 years old, slipped away from Team Cameroon’s housing in search of a better life. Seven years later, TCHATCHET, lifted on the world’s greatest stage Saturday as a member of the Refugee Olympic Team (EOT). 

“It didn’t go as planned. But I am happy with the result. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but you still have to celebrate our achievement, no matter how small or minor they are,” TCHATCHET said about his 10th place finish in the men’s 96kg category at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Living on the streets of Scotland, TCHATCHET called a suicide hotline. Police arrived and took him into custody while he applied for asylum. But through the darkness, TCHATCHET found one thing that kept him going; weightlifting.

“I have not been able to stop weightlifting even when I was at my lowest moments,” TCHATCHET said. “Weightlifting is a bit addictive. I don’t think I can actually stop weightlifting until I am physically unable to do it.”

Once granted asylum, TCHATCHET attended Middlesex University, where he met his coach. 

“We’ve made a lot of good progress. I have had a lot of support in refining my technique. I have had a lot of support there,” TCHATCHET said.

While TCHATCHET’s 350kg total may not have totally satisfied himself as an athlete, his performance Saturday at the Olympic Games should inspire millions around the world facing conflict and uncertainty. 

“I have a message of hope. You shouldn’t give up life,” TCHATCHET said. “Life is like a roller coaster. You go through ups and downs. You have to keep working and keep pushing.”