Twenty-four taekwondo athletes identified at the National Senior Open Trials have begun camping in Abuja as part of preparations for the 12th African Games, the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) says.
Chika Chukwumerije, an NTF board member, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday that the athletes would be supervised by four coaches in the build-up programme.
Chukwumerije said the athletes included defending African champion Uzoamaka Otuadinma in the 73kg category and Ifeoluwa Ajayi (63kg).
He listed others to also include Elizabeth Anyanacho (67kg), Commonwealth gold medallist Josephine Esuku (46kg) and 2019 Nigeria Open gold medallist Peter Itiku (80kg).
“The trials were thrown open to senior taekwondo athletes and the aim was to select best athletes in the slated male and female categories.
“There is no doubt that the athletes are good, but it is fundamental to sharpen their skills to get them adequately abreast of current standard rules that are obtainable and will be applied at the games,” the 2008 Olympics
bronze medalist said.
He said the notable five athletes (Esuku, Anyanacho, Itiku, Otuadinma, and Ajayi) were top ranked in their various weight categories.
Chukwumerije added that they had proved their mettle at the recently-held National Taekwondo Senior Open Trials for the African Games.
He said further that 14 out of the 16 2018 National Sports Festival (NSF) champions performed well, defended their titles and won gold medals at the competition.
“The group is made up of competitive athletes who have convincingly proved their skills by defending their titles overtimes in major national and international tournaments,” the federation board member said.
The NTF technical director then urged the athletes to be dedicated, focused and to take advantage of the camping programme to be in good form towards a victorious outing at the games.
NAN reports that Nigeria will feature in the taekwondo competition of the 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco from Aug. 19 to Aug. 31. (NAN)