Taekwondo: Abuja Agog For Chukwumerije Tourney

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Hundreds of athletes from the West Africa will tomorrow begin hostilities in Abuja at the second Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) International Taekwondo Open.

Also, 32 kids will also take to the ring at the two-day tournament holding at Sheraton Hotel while ace comedian, Hafiz Oyetoro alias Saka will clash with 2008 Beijing Olympics medalist, Chika Chukwumerije in an exhibition match on Sunday. The exhibition bout is part of Saka’s support to the sport.

With all the 302 fighters already in Abuja to compete in the N2.8m prize money championship, all eyes will be on the continent powerhouses – Mali, Gabon and Cote d’Ivoire as well as host – Nigeria.

The Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF)-endorsed tournament will have some of the best fighters in Africa taking part.

According to the President of NTF, George Ashiru, there is hope that the tournament would soon receive the backing of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).

The NTF boss added: “I think my expectation is to improve on last year’s superlative event as we have amassed more than 85 personnel both technical and administrative to make this an even greater championship. With more prizes at stake and eight countries, we are gradually getting to the point that we can organise official international championships sanctioned by the WTF. That’s our ultimate goal with this tournament, to host WTF sanctioned events like world and continental championships.”

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Athletes from 24 states across the country including 36 taekwondoists from Mali, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Togo, Niger Republic and Cote D’Ivoire will also be in attendance.

Also, the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs, Nigeria Immigration, six clubs and 23 individual registrations have been listed for the international tournament meant to be a fertile hotbed for discovery of future Olympians.

For the Chief Executive Officer/Founder of CCSF, Chika Chukwumerije, the vision is to produce educated champions and to inspire the future.

He said: “The foundation wants to lead the sporting industry into an era where our champions are educated, and our children today become creative and visionary persons tomorrow. That is how far the CCSF wants to go, and we hope that the next decade sets us off on this remarkable vision.

The Team Nigeria captain to the 2012 London Olympics added: “Sports and Education have played huge roles in my personal development. These two fields have taken me to over 25 countries, exposed me to life-changing experiences, made me valuable friends and given me the tools to tackle an uncertain future. Every Nigerian child should have that kind of opportunity.

Generally, people set up foundations to make significant impact in a certain area/subject. This often occurs in an area one is passionate about, and has found that extra help is needed in improving that area. The foundation was set up to better guide and aid young Nigerians and West Africans who have decided to engage in sports.”