After a successful National Sports Festival which climaxes today, another sporting fiesta known as Nigeria international Taekwondo Open is set to be staged in the Nation’s capital, Abuja come February, 2019.
As at last checks, no fewer than 15 countries from parts of Africa and other continents have indicated interest to participate.
Of course, the latest talking point as far as 2018 is concerned is the glamorous and much impactful way Taekwondo event among other sporting activities was organised.
Rivers state stood tall at the end and won no fewer than eight medals, comprising of seven gold and one silver at the ongoing 19th National Sports Festival in Abuja.
They were closely followed by Kano state with same eight medals, made up of five gold, one silver and two bronze. Delta state finished third with five medals of two gold and three silver.
Lagos, Kebbi, Oyo, Edo and host FCT were fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth respectively, with each state settling for at least one gold medal each.
Talking about how it all went, River state with unarguably the best Taekwondo array of stars strategically picked gold in virtually all Kyerougi categories of fights they embarked upon.
The likes of experienced Josephine Esuku, Chinazum Nwosu, Chidinma Okoko, Vivian Ndu, Chiamaka Onumonu, Ifeoluwa Ajayi and Sunday Onofe who fought in -46kg, -53kg, -57kg, -73kg, +73kg, -63kg and -87kg respectively kept Rivers in top position.
The only silver medal from the champions’ state came in poomsae, courtesy of Esuku’s master class.
Perhaps, the new revelations in Taekwondo events of 2018 NSF were Elizabeth Anyanacho (FCT), Paul Bright (Kebbi) and a hand full of others, competing for the first time at any Sports festival event.
Surprisingly, Kebbi clinched two gold medals with unknown Abdulhafeez Salawudeen winning one of them in the poomsae display.
Speaking after an elaborate and well-organised medal presentation ceremony, attended by one of influential serving Senator Shehu Sani, President of Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), Elizabeth Binga attributed successful events to full corporation of her board members and other well-meaning Stakeholders.
Binga used the opportunity to beckon on wealthy individuals and corporate to identify with the federation in its activities ahead of 2019 even as G-1 rated international Nigeria Taekwondo Open slated for February, next year.
On his part, NTF Technical Director and Olympic medallist, Chika Chukwumerije hinted that preparations have already begun with registration still on, in preparation for the 2019 international competition which would be staged in Abuja.
According to him, “As a federation, we have taken up the responsibility of ensuring international best practice in all our events. The high level of organisation everyone witnessed here today was one of the ways of demonstrating our readiness to get things right.”