Kebbi Open: Expectations high as host team lead Taekwondo gold rush, Kyrougi battle begins

As day two of the ongoing maiden Kebbi Open Taekwondo Championship gets underway Sunday night inside Hauru Abdul stadium in Birnin Kebbi, host team Kebbi state are already leading the way in hauling medals.

At the end of poomsae event Sunday morning, Kebbi won a total of five medals comprising two gold, one and two bronze.

They were followed by Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) that got one gold and silver. Nigeria Army and Navy finished third and fourth respectively with one silver and bronze each.

Talking about how the medals at stake were carted away, Kebbi’s Oluwaseun Abodunrin picked gold, Victor Onokobhagbe of NSCDC and Abdulhafeez Salawudeen of Kebbi settled for silver and bronze respective in the individual male event.

In the female event, it was Josephine Esuku (NSCDC), Adeyanju Khajidat (Kebbi) and Oloyede Adeola (Kebbi) that grabbed gold, silver and bronze respectively for their respective teams.

After triumphing happily on Saturday night, both Abodunrin and Khajidat of team Kebbi said they are now focused on the kyerougi fight on Sunday night.

For Kyerougi battle, athletes will battle for honours in eight Olympic weight categories.

Teams including NSCDC, Nigeria Army, Nigeria Navy,  Nigeria Police, Lagos, FCT Abuja, Ebonyi, Edo, Kano, Plateau, Delta, Kwara, Nasarawa, Osun, Kaduna, Anambra, hosts Kebbi, and four unaffiliated clubs are already rearing to go.

Current African Champion in the female -53kg, Chinazum Nwosu of the NSCDC and four other medallists at the 12th African Games, including Elizabeth Anyanacho (Team CCSF] in female -67kg, Sunday Onofe in male -80kg, Vivian Ndu (NSCDC) in female -62kg and Benjamin Okuomose (Nigeria Army) in male -87kg are certain to compete.

Other high-profile competitors are rising youth stars, Oyebanji Olapeju of Lagos State, African Youth Bronze Medalist and current National Champion in the female -57kg, Chidinma Okoko, African Games quarterfinalists and current National Champions, Peter Itiku of Team CCSF and Ifeoluwa Ajayi of Q-Madi in Lagos.

In a bid to host to win, Kebbi have entered for every category and have a total of eighteen competitors, the highest of any team. They are followed by the Nigerian Army with eleven athletes, Team CCSF with eight athletes and perennial winners of National Championships, NSCDC with six athletes.

Team NSCDC’s six athletes are all national athletes with all six winning international medals at the continental level, which makes them the deadliest team and the team to beat at the event.

With their absence at the last Korean Ambassador’s Cup, the Kebbi Open will be the first event the successful team will participate since six of its athletes competed at the 12th African Games.

The tournament, which is the first national ranked tournament in Kebbi state, will use the Daedo Gen 2 scoring system that is to be deplored at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as well as Instant Video Replay technology and Taekoplan Overall Management system to ensure the event conforms to international standard.

Kebbi state will be the 10th state that will be experiencing a national program under President Margret Binga-led NTF inaugurated slightly over two years ago.

Other states that have played hosts to the Federation’s national programs are Lagos, Kwara, FCT, Osun, Zamfara, Borno, Benue, Ebonyi and Kaduna.

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