Nigerian Taekwondo athletes to the just concluded Africa Taekwondo G-4 championship in Kigali, Rwanda, finished 8th on the log of the medal table. The team went home with 1 Silver and 2 bronze medals.
Benjamin Okuomose of the +87Kg got Nigeria a silver medal losing out in the final to Morocco Ayoub Bassei, while Shola Olowookere lost out in the semi-finals to Tunisia’s Firas Katousi to win a bronze medal.
In the Women`s category, Nigeria Olympian Elizabeth Anayacho lost out of Egyptian Aya Shehata in the semi-finals to claim a bronze medal.
Reacting to the team’s performance, Mr Egwin Osita who is the technical director of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation admitted this was one the best performances at the championship. “We faced a lot of issues due to the weather which affected not only our athletes but everyone that participated, for us we arrived just a day to the championship so we couldn`t acclimatized well but I am proud of the standard that we gave because it could be compared to world standard”.
He maintained that a lot of things needed to be put in place for Nigeria to be able to clinch a world title in any major championship. “Look at for example, Benjamin Okumose in the +87Kg category defeated Olympics Silver medalist in Rio, and top athlete Seydou Gbane of Ivory Coast.
Egwin Osita called on well meaning Nigerians, Private Sponsors to look into the Sports to help the athletes win more medals for the country.
“Our major setback what that we didn`t get enough preparation before the championship looking at the fact that while we were in camp Egypt, Niger Republic and Morocco attended two Grand Prix events and if not for our federation President Abdullahi Saidu Baba who ensured we got things to help us go through and his board members, I say God bless him”.
Morocco finished overall top with 15 medals: 8 gold, 3 sliver and 4 bronze. Egypt finished 2nd with total of 13 medals: 3 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze. Ivory Coast finished third 3rd with 7 medals: 2 gold 3 silver and 2 bronze. A total of 39 countries participated in the Africa Taekwondo G-4 Championship.