The Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) has endorsed the yearly Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) International Taekwondo Open, as teams and athletes arrive Abuja for the tournament holding this weekend.
According to the President of NTF, George Ashiru, the federation has sanctioned the tournament, as the quality of organization of the tournament has indeed been impressive.
“The CCSF is an affiliate of the NTF, and so the tournament is sanctioned by the NTF. Beyond this, the NTF provides support equipments and licensed referees and technical support to make this a world-class event. It is in our vision to partner with affiliated Taekwondo NGOs to organise quality programmes to meet international standards,” Ashiru said.
He however, expressed optimism that the CCSF would soon receive the backing of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
The NTF boss added: “I think my expectation is to improve on last year’s superlative event as we have amassed more than 85 personnel both technical and administrative to make this an even greater championships. With more prizes at stake and eight countries, we are gradually getting to the point that we can organise official international championships sanctioned by the WTF. That’s our ultimate goal with this tournament, to host WTF sanctioned events like world and continental championships.”
Listing the gains for Nigerian athletes, Ashiru said: “Exposure! Our athletes, especially the ones who can’t afford to travel abroad to compete, will have the opportunity of matching their skills with their counterparts from other nations and therefore influence their preparation for the major events like the All Africa Games.
Meanwhile, teams and athletes within and outside Nigeria have started arriving Abuja in readiness for the two-day competition while Mali and NigerRepublic arrived yesterday and they had intensified their training.
Over N2.8m will be at stake at the tournament with gold medalists in eight events made of male and female getting N150, 000 each while eight silver medalists will cart home N100, 000 each while 16 bronze medalists will also get N50, 000 each for their efforts.
Aside the cash reward, 200 athletes that registered for the champion will get equipment like uniform, kicking pads and skipping ropes valued at N1.7m.
Over 340 athletes have been confirmed for the tournament with 36 competitors coming 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 tournament meant to be a fertile hotbed for discovery of future Olympians.