Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) President Margaret Binga has praised the Federation’s athletes who won medals for Team Nigeria at the ongoing 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
Despite having just six weeks to get ready for the Games, the NTF’s athletes won one gold and five bronze medals to finish sixth in the Taekwondo medal standings behind hosts Morocco, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Tunisia and Niger.
Nigeria’s sole gold medal was won by women’s team captain Chinazum Nwosu in the under-53 kilograms category.
Three of the five bronze medals came in women’s events with Vivian Ndu, African Games debutant Elizabeth Anyanacho and defending champion Uzoamaka Otuadinma picking up medals in the under-62kg, under-67kg and under-73kg categories, respectively.
There were also bronze medals for male team captain Sunday Onofe in the under-87kg division and African Games debutant Benjamin Okuomose in the over-87kg category.
Binga, the only Nigerian to have won an African Games title twice – at Johannesburg 1999 and Abuja 2003 – commended the medallists for their efforts during three days of competition from 21 -23 August.
“I am very proud of what you have achieved,” she said.
“It was an extremely difficult tournament when most of you neophytes encountered well-exposed opposition.
“Thank you for delivering medals to Team Nigeria and making the country proud.”
There were also encouraging words from the NTF President for team members who did not make it to the podium.
“Sports is not a do-or-die affair,” she said. “I am witness to the tremendous efforts and sacrifice you made to be on the podium. But there can only be one winner for a medal position, so it is always painful not to be one of the medallists.”
“We commend your efforts and will continue to support your development,” she added.
Binga, the first female President of the NTF, also promised to honour the medallists during the Federation’s end-of-year awards ceremony.
“Recognition of excellence is important, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it would help us inspire a new generation of taekwondo athletes in Nigeria,” she said.
Since ascending to the helm of the NTF, Binga has overseen a renaissance in Taekwondo in Nigeria which has now become the undisputed number one martial arts sports in the country.
Taekwondo is one of only five sports in which Nigeria has won an Olympic medal, with Chika Chukwumerije claiming a bronze in the men’s over-80kg division at Beijing 2008.
And in further good news for the NTF, technical director Chukwumerije has been appointed as a member of a five-person ‘Taekwondo For All Committee’ by the World Taekwondo Federation.
The appointment covers a two-year period and elapses at the end of the 2021 World Taekwondo Championships in China.