By Tony Ubani, Maputo
When the Taekwon do events kick-start tomorrow(Wednesday) at the All Africa Games, Nigerian athletes would be extra ready to contest for the 16 gold, 16 silver and 32 bronze medals on offer at the event.
Only yesterday, Senator Uche Chukwumerije visited the athletes in camp and promised a handsome reward of N500, 000 to any gold medalist while silver and bronze medalists would receive N250,000 and N150,000 respectively.
The Senator’s two sons, Uche Jnr and Chika Chukwumerije are representing Team Nigeria in Taekwondo and are rated as potential gold medalists here. The announcement from Senator Chukwumerije sparked off wild celebration in camp as the athletes vowed to redouble their efforts to win gold and cart home various pledges both from Sports Minister, Senator David Mark and the motivational bonuses for any fight won as they progress to the finals.
President of Taekwondo Federation of Nigeria, Dr Jonathan Nnaji described Senator Chukwumerije’s gesture as encouraging. “He has lifted the morale of the athletes and I know that they are going to mine gold to get the rewards. Other prominent Nigerians should borrow a leaf from this gesture”, Nnaji said.
Nigeria is currently ranked top in African Taekwondo but Nnaji would not be blinded to make predictions of clearing the medals.
“All I know that the spirit in camp is high and the athletes are in good condition. One cannot predict how medals they will win but we are hopeful of a good outing here”, Nnaji who is also the 1st Vice President of Nigeria Olympic Committee said.
One other Nigerian who is considered as good as gold in Taekwondo is Temi Jegede who flew in from London fro the events that start tomorrow.