ABUJA – The taekwondo team of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Saturday emerged winners of the 2017 Korean Ambassador’s Taekwondo Championships held in Abuja.
The the two-day championships which began on Friday climaxed on Saturday at the Indoor Sports Hall at Package B of the National Stadium.
The tournament organised by the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) and sponsored by the Republic of Korea Embassy had about 150 athletes in attendance.
They were from three countries, namely Cameroon, Niger Republic and Chad, as well as 11 Nigerian states, 2 clubs and the para-military.
NSCDC, who are the defending champions and have dominated the last four editions of the tournament, once again emerged as champions.
The para-military team won with three gold, one silver and four bronze medals ahead of Q-Madi Club of Lagos which came second with one gold, one silver and one bronze.
The third position went to the Niger Republic national team which clinched one gold and one bronze medals, with Team Lagos winning one gold medal for the fourth position.
Also, in the senior male -58 kg, Abdumujeeb Sanusi of Q-Madi Club took the gold medal, while Charles Okon of Kebbi settled for silver.
Chukwuka Okon of Delta and Abdufathi Sanusi of Q-Madi were joint third and took home the bronze medals.
In the senior male -80kg, Djibo Kadri of Niger Republic claimed the gold medal, while Paul Ogundele from Kebbi State finished as a silver medalist.
Raymond Tiamiyu of NSCDC and Cameroon’s Bassonyam Blaise were joint bronze winners.
Results in the senior male -68kg category saw Seyi Olowookere of Lagos claiming the gold, while Ajayi Ifeoluwa of Q-Madi took silver.
Muhammad Lawal of Kano State and Jingri Rachiduo of Niger Republic were joint bronze medalists in the category.
In the senior male +80kg, Sunday Onofe of NSCDC took gold, while Kenneth Ogbu of Plateau settled for the silver.
Sadiq Abdulrahman of Plateau and Ali Mohammed of Borno finished in the third position.
The senior female -49kg category saw Sekinat Adebayo of Kano State claiming gold, while Laadi Luiser of Nasarawa State took silver.
Adeyanju Khadijat of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) of Zaria and Faith Etokhana of Kebbi finished as joint third.
It was a clean sweep for NSCDC in the senior female +67kg as Uzoamaka Otuadinma, Chiamaka Onumonu and Pamela Orji took the gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.
Joy Ikpeamaeze of FCT also finished joint-third to settle for the bronze.
NAN also reports that guests at the event were the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, and the Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Noh Kyu-Duk.
Dalung, in his remarks, said the organisation of the championships was a good start for the newly-inaugurated NTF board.
“I think it is so far so good. They (the NTF board members) have keyed into our grassroots development programmes as they have gone to almost all the states were taekwondo never existed.
“They went to the North-East and even went to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and you can see that somebody from Borno won a bronze medal in this competition, and this is the first outing we are having from that part of the country.
“I think the board is on course and I am satisfied and encouraged. This is indeed the dividends of the democratisation of the national sports federations; allowing them to choose leaders of their choice and giving them the free hand to operate.
“If they continue like this, I believe Nigeria is going to have a good outing in 2020 at the Tokyo Olympic Games,” he said.
Noh, on his part, promised that South Korea would continue to support and encourage the development of the game in Nigeria.
He added that taekwondo was already being taught in some Nigerian schools as an extra-curricular activity.
“We have also noticed that taekwondo, as an Olympic event, is one of the most popular sports being practised in Nigeria with over 250,000 youths involved in it, hence our continuous promotion for the growth and development of the game.
“Hopefully, with our commitment coupled with the efforts of the Sports Ministry, Nigeria will not only qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games taekwondo event, but will go to Japan and win medals,” Noh said.
Margaret Binga, the NTF President, in her remarks, expressed her gratitude to the minister and the Korean Ambassador for their support and contribution to the development of taekwondo in the country.
She also thanked the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports’ medical team which she noted ensured that the event met international standards, as well as all the volunteers for working tirelessly.
The NTF president said the event had been a huge success, adding that a lot of talents were discovered at the end of the championships.
“This event has been a huge success and it represents how emphasis on youth development will be at the core of our strategy.
“In fact, the goal of my administration is simple — to add more value to taekwondo practitioners through robust programmes.
“There is no state in this country where we will not reach, and no one will be left out, from the grassroots to the national level,” she said.