Taekwondo: National Senior Open Championship Kicks Off June 25 In Abuja
By Our Reporter
Countdown to the National Seniors Open Trials championships showdown, scheduled to hold between 25 – 27 June 2019 at the National Stadium Abuja has begun as the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation sets in full motion its preparations to call its National athletes to the camping for the All African Games.
The nation’s top ranked athletes led by current African Champion, Uzoamaka Otuadinma and other big athletes like NSCDC’s trio of Sunday Onofe, Josephine Esuku, Chinazum Nwosu; Kebbi’s Bright Kolade; FCT’s duo of Peter Itiku and Elizabeth Anyanacho; Kano’s Sekinat Adebayo’ Q-Madi’s Ifeoluwa Ajayi and others will be expected to compete at the event.
Nonetheless, there are strong indicators from lesser known and upcoming competitors that a showdown should be expected at the tourney, especially with the deployment of the exciting and innovative round robin system at the trials.
For Lagos state athlete, Hassan Rasheedat, who was a Silver Medallist at the last National Trials, she is well prepared and ready to go.
“At the previous trials I got the silver medal, but I actually wanted a gold medal. For this year’s edition, I am well prepared and good to go. Everyone has eyes on the gold so that makes each competitor my toughest and the round system gives every athlete an opportunity for correction. “
Hassan Rasheedat in training for the National Trials
For University of Jos Taekwondo Practitioner, Uche Nwokolo, the National Trials Championships is an opportunity for him to pick up ranking points and earn a call up to the national camp for the All African Games.
“I have been giving my best in training and I am not willing to let anything slip because at the last trials I picked a bronze medal but this time around I have worked on my flaws and strengths. I will do my best to book a spot in the AAG camp and also gather more ranking points.
Uche Nwokolo in training for the National Trials
Nwokolo, a medical student at the University of Jos, who on a Bronze at the last National Trials but has been knocked out at the quarterfinal stages of the past two tournaments – the 2018 national sports festival and 2019 Nigeria International Open – understands the difficulty of competing at national tournaments but is still optimistic about doing well in the upcoming event.
“It will not be easy because of the round robbing system so I cannot afford to underrate any opponent. Nonetheless, I have a near perfect coach, a willing mind and I believe that this is my time.”
Edo’s Osahenoma Brain, who lost in the first round at the last National trials and has been knocked out in the round of 16 in the past two tournaments, complimented the round robin system used which has made him train harder/
“The round robin system being used is a welcome idea because it has put athletes on their toes. Because of this system introduced, I have been preparing for the trials for over 3 months now because I know that it would not be easy. It is going to be the survival of the fittest, so I do not want to be found wanting.”
Edo State’s Osahenoma Brain before Taekwondo action in a competition.
Chairman of the Technical Committee, Alhaji Sani Lawal, is excited by the implications of the ranking points that would be won by participants at the event.
“At the end of the year, we are debuting the “Best of the Best” championships, where only the top five athletes using Olympic ranking with be invited to the lucrative event. So as a Federation, we want to provide as many championships as possible between now and November to ensure athletes earn the opportunity to claw their way to the top.”
Chairman of Technical and Development Committee, Alhaji Sani Lawal [right], monitoring deliberations of the National Referees at the last National Trials.
“So the National Trials is not just a way to earn an invitation to the AAG camp, it also provides an opportunity to start earning medals to the massive showdown in December for the elite five, and no athlete would want to miss this kind of opportunity, We already have the IGP Taekwondo Championships, Korean Ambassadors Cup and Kebbi Open locked down and will look for more competitive opportunities for our athletes to make it to the top. It is almost like a qualification path to a taekwondo champions league”
Camping for the All African Games is expected to resume in the first week of July.