Team Nigeria arrives UAE for Fujairah Open
By Niyi Busari
Honourable Minister of Youths and Sports development, Sunday Dare, last minute intervention has ensured that the Nigeria National Taekwondo team will participate at the the World Taekwondo G-2 ranked Fujairah Open, in preparation for the Olympic qualification Tournaments to hold three weeks later in Rabat Morocco.
The immediate non-availability of funds had threatened the team’s participation in the important high-ranking and preparatory event, but the timely intervention aided the team who arrived today in time to meet the weigh-in for the seniors event set to commence on 2nd February 2020.
Registered for the seniors’ category are 383 athletes from 43 countries including: USA, China, Greece, Germany, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, India, Syria, Russia, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Chinese Taipei, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Brazil, Swaziland, Yemen, Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan, Sweden, French Guinea, Oman, USA, Croatia, Iran, Mauritania, France, Nepal.
African countries at the event included Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Ghana, Chad, Kenya, Sudan, Cameroon and Benin Republic.
Leading the team in Fujairah is National Team Captain and African Champion, Chinazum Nwosu, who will be competing in her first international since her All African heroics in August 2019.
Other members of them are African Bronze medalists, Benjamin Okuomose and Elizabeth Anyanacho, as well as AAG quarterfinalists and national champions, Ifeoluwa Ajayi and Peter Itiku.
Officials to guide the team include the Federation’s Secretary-General, Mr Yusuf Kabir, Technical Director of the Federation, three-time Olympian Engr. Chika Chukwumerije, and National Coach, Mr John Victor.
The team has been training since 10th January 2020 and will be using the Fujairah Open to earn vital Olympic ranking points and shake off international competition match-rustiness against the crucial qualifiers, to hold 21 – 24 February 2020 in Rabat Morocco.
The Ministry had in 2019 announced that the country will support eleven sports, including Taekwondo, to participate at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
This decision, which was sanctioned for implementation by the Honourable Minister of Youths and Sports Mr Sunday Dare, was taken at the inaugural meeting of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Tokyo 2020 Games (MACT) held on Wednesday, 4th December 2019.
The selection of the sports was based on the recent performances of the sports combined with the sport’s precedents at the Olympic games.
According to the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Tokyo 2020 Games (MACT), the recommended decision to prioritize was taken in order to further consolidate the chances of athletes and teams at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Other sports earmarked by the Ministry for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are: Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Canoeing, Gymnastics, Rowing, Table Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling.
The five recommended para-sports are: Para-Athletics, Para Canoeing, Para Powerlifting, Para Rowing and Para Table Tennis.