Taekwondoists on Saturday lauded the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the annual Agoma Taekwondo Open Festival (ATOF) for shifting the dates of the championships.
They spoke in separate interviews on the change of date of the championship in view of the Ramadan period.
The championship was initially billed to hold from May 16 to May 19, which had now been rescheduled to hold from May 9 to May 12 at the Knock-Up Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.
In his comments, Isah Adam, the Coach of Kano State Taekwondo Association (KSTA), expressed happiness on the change of dates of the championships.
Adam said that the initial dates would have affected their participation for the programme because it falls in the Ramadan period.
“The earlier dates were not okay for Muslims, because we always observed training on a low pace during Ramadan to enable us to partake in the fasting.
“I commend the Oghenejobo-led LOC for this considerable step, which will inspire those of us planning to feature in the championships, to also have enough time to prepare for Ramadan,’’ he said.
Also, Muhammad Shehu-Baffa, a 68kg regular participant, described the championships as a talent-hunt.
Shehu-Baffa said that such tournament should be promoted in order to contribute to the growth of taekwondo in Nigeria.
“Agoma has helped us to develop; it has been instrumental to the growth of national ranked champions and Olympians.
“It’s a tournament that remained objective; so when the information of Ramadan got to the LOC and with the reminder of compulsory fasting by officials, they changed the date to suit us,” he said.
Commenting, Usman Idoko, a 59kg class and regular participant in Agoma, described the rescheduled date as a good step, adding that the purpose was to help athletes to improve on their forms.
“This is where spirit of sportsmanship is manifested; its shows that LOC is passionate about the growth of athletes.
It goes the extra mile to carry everybody along,” Idoko said.
The Head of LOC, Peter Oghenejobo, said that in spite of the athletes’ involvement in series of trainings, there was need to recognise and identify with vital practices of their various religions.
He urged athletes that aspire to participate in the championships, particularly the Muslims to feel free, prepare and ensure they excel in their weight categories.
“We will try to be flexible in our activities, and I believe that when we remain committed to our God and observe the doctrines, He will help us, hence the change of date,’’ he added. (NAN)