The Main Organising Committee of the Korean Ambassador Cup has reiterated its commitment towards organising a hitchfree 2016 edition of the Korean Ambassador’s Taekwondo championship holding at the Teslim Balogun stadium, Lagos from the 8th to the 10th of December.
According to the Chairman of the MOC, the President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, Grandmaster George Ashiru, the event which he described as more of a National Open Tournament will have over 300 competitors across the Federation and some West African countries traditionally invited to add competitiveness.
Ashiru said the annual event sponsored by the Korean Cultural centre ‘with their other chosen partners’ geared towards enhancing sports development and bilateral relations will in the absence of the National Sports Festival provide an opportunity for technical department of the federation to raise a new national team for 2017 which is a world championship year.
“We do know that many states, the Armed forces and other para-military units as well as elite clubs are seriously gearing up to be for this event to ensure that their athletes are nationally ranked in preparation for a busy season in 2017.
We have also opened it up traditionally to our West African brothers”.
Speaking further on the importance of the tournament, ACP Gideon Akinsola (rtd) who is a member of the NTF Board, said that many members of the national teams chosen in the past 3 years have been selected from this championship.
“In the 2013 edition which was a team event, the winning team ended up representing Nigeria at the world team championships where the best 32 nations in the world were invited. We were fortunate to have been invited that year by the World Taekwondo Federation.”
The members of that team and other champions from other teams ended up being the ones that went for the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championship in 2014 where we won 10 medals including 4 gold. The best international achievement for our federation so far.”
Further, Ashiru also added that “the lone Olympic silver medallist from Niger Republic cut his teeth at the 2013 edition. 3 years later, he is an Olympic medallist.”
The MOC Chairman and NTF president told journalists that, “Niger is planning to continue that tradition of sending teams. Mali is planning to send teams and athletes from Ghana have registered. We know that a lot of athletes are going to be there from other parts of West Africa”.
It was revealed that apart from individual awards by the Korean Ambassador for former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, a former Chief of Army staff, Lt. General Inuwa Wushishi (rtd), other Nigerians will also be recognized for their immense contributions to Taekwondo development and support for the bilateral relationship between the Korean Embassy, and the sports establishment in Nigeria since the formation of federation 30 years ago. Ashiru said that this year’s event will witness an improvement on the 2015 edition as most of the referees to be used are international referees many of whom will have just been updated in the new international competition rules.
The Secretary General of the NTF Mr Sunny Obot added that the most critical highlight of this event is, “the MOC is using the National Sports Festival individual format rather than team events. So it is now an open individual tournament where everybody stands for himself in their respective weight categories, for the sparring (kyorugi and the forms (poomsaes).”
“Another important reason why people want to attend is that we will use the Olympics standard equipment (the full electronics) which is a rare opportunity for them to use the equipment that is used in World championships, All Africa Games and the Olympics.”
The former national taekwondo champion and 1987 All Africa Games medalist concluded that because of the previous impact and the quality of the brand, “every single quality player in the nation will participate in the event.”
“They know the standard is usually good and the prizes provided by the sponsors such as smart phones and electrical appliances very attractive”