The number of entries for this year’s Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) International Taekwondo Open has been overwhelming as more than 340 athletes have been confirmed for the two-day tournament.

Chika Chukwumerije at the Beijing 2008 Olympics where he won a bronze medal.
Chika Chukwumerije at the Beijing 2008 Olympics where he won a bronze medal.

According to the organisers, the number has exceeded last year’s entries, which was 240, as more athletes are still registering for the competition holding in Abuja on October 19 to 20.

Also, 36 competitors are from seven African countries including Mali, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Togo, NigerRepublic and Cote D’Ivoire.

Also, 24 Nigeria states, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs, Nigeria Immigration, six clubs and 23 individual registrations have been listed for the international tourna-mentmeant to be a fertile hotbed for discovery of future Olympians.

For the Chief Executive Officer/ Founder of CCSF, Chika Chukwumerije, the number of entries has been overwhelming.

“There were a total of 191 participants made up of 138 male and 53 female participants) and one foreign competitor from Cote d’Ivoire with the athletes drawn from 18 states, seven clubs, five universities, three from the paramilitary and 14 individuals. The target this year was to expand the number to 300, with a target of 20 to 30 competitors from West Africa.

So far, 302 competitors have been registered for the second edition. With 32 Kids also expected from across the country to participate in the invitational, the total number of competitors comes to 332. With registrations from Senegal and BeninRepublic still expected to complete the West African home-coming,” he said.

He added: “The sheer quality of the maiden edition last year got competitors buzzing, and the word went round that the organization was world-class. Every participant – competitors, coaches, referees, officials, spectators, volunteers and others totally enjoyed the ambience of the event from start to finish. Thus, the tournament sold itself. The event management team has been terrific in this regard, and there is a constant flow of information that potential participants and the public are fully involved in the process.

“More importantly, participants recognize that the tournament adds value to their career. They ones that register early get equipment for free, the ones that win the robust prize monies get to take something home that aids their families or in some cases pay for rent, school fees and other key expenses. In addition, they get quality medals and trophies that anyone would be proud of. The ones that do not win anything enjoy the whole ambience of the event hall, and the entertainment that goes with it – little games, performance of entertainment groups, and loud cheerful and spirited support of their teams,” he explained.

On the goal of the tournament, the Beijing Olympics bronze medalist said: “The goal is to get endorsed by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) in 2015. The CCSF Event Management team decided that it was better to work in phases to slowly build up key event management capabilities towards fully hosting the world in Nigeria. Phase one was to target the entire taekwondo community in Nigeria – from the states to the clubs, paramilitary, military and other interested individuals. We succeeded in doing this effectively last year, so we moved to stage two, which was to extend our reach to West Africa. So far, we seemed to have done a good job of reaching out to our West African colleagues. In the 2014 edition, we expect a few competitors from Europe and probably Asia to participate in our tournament. The final phase is to push for the tournament to become recognized by the WTF by 2015.”

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