One of Nigeria’s foremost taekwondo coaches, Ahmed Adekola-Kazeem is excited about the staging of the maiden World Taekwondo (WT)-sanctioned Nigeria Open, adding that the tournament would surely inscribe the country of the world map.
With plans to extend the deadline by two days, 13 countries have so far completed their registration for the three-day tournament holding in Abuja from February 8 to 10.
An elated Adekola-Kazeem said: “Nigeria Taekwondo is going through some sort of rebirth, which is sorely needed since we have not had encouraging performances in recent international tournaments. Having the first ever World Taekwondo sanctioned event in Nigeria is a big boost to Nigeria athletes who are inspired by the status given to the tournament and strive to prove a point by coming out tops on the Medals table. Thus, I think that the event would be very competitive and exciting and it would a big loss for any taekwondo athlete that does not register for the Nigeria Open.”
On the possible impact of the tournament on the fortune of taekwondo in Nigeria, the coach said: “It will definitely help gain the needed exposure at a very little cost. Many Nigeria athletes are not able to afford to go outside the country, so this is an opportunity to compete against more exposed athlete which will brighten our chance of winning laurels at the All Africa Games, World Championships and hopefully the Olympics. It will also put the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation on the world map and hopefully we will be able to win the right to host the World Championship and Grand Prix in the not too far future.”
According to the details of registration, over 122 participants from 13 countries have so far confirmed their participation in the tournament holding at the Velodrome, Package A of the Abuja National Stadium.
Countries expected in Abuja are Saudi Arabia, United States, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger Republic, Congo DRC, Oman, Senegal, Togo, Guadeloupe and host – Nigeria.