Barely 120 confirmed athletes from 21 teams have started trooping into Birnin Kebbi for the 1st Kebbi Taekwondo Open Championships, which is holding between November 9 and 11 2019 at the Hauru Abdul Stadium in Kebbi State.
Among the teams to be looked out for are the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) that is making stunning return after missing out of the just concluded Korean Ambassadors Championship (KAC).
The tournament, which is sanctioned and ranked by the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), will see participants battle out for honours in eight Olympic weight categories and four poomsae events.
Other participating teams include athletes from the 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.
Current African Champion in the female -53kg, Chinazum Nwosu of the NSCDC and four other medalists 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 when hostilities kicks off on Saturday.
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, Hosts Kebbi have entered for every event 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 used 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.
Her administration has resolved to conduct a national program in each state in the country. Other states that have played hosts to the Federation’s national programs are Lagos, Kwara, FCT, Osun, Zamfara, Borno, Benue, Ebonyi and Kaduna.