The second Nigeria Taekwondo International Open has been sanctioned by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). Also, the body has awarded a G-1 International ranking to the event which is to take place on November 16 to 18 in Abuja, Nigeria.
This will be the first taekwondo competition ever in Nigeria to have an international ranking.
The NTF Technical Director, Chika Chukwumerije, spoke on how the feat was achieved and the benefits to the Nigeria Taekwondo Community.
“The Federation worked very hard to get the approval from World Taekwondo through the African body, who duly approved after being satisfied that the event fulfills all World Taekwondo conditions.
“Despite being some of the top competitors on the continent, our athletes have literally no world ranking because they cannot afford to travel to compete.
“Thus by getting the event sanctioned, we would provide hundreds of our elite and upcoming athletes the opportunity to gain vital world ranking points and competitive experience with some of the best athletes in the world,” the three-time Olympian said.
Chairman of the NTF Technical and Development Committee, Sani Lawal, blamed the lack of G events for the rise of other African countries over Nigeria at international events.
“Countries like Cote d’Ivoire have more than seven competitors in the high ranked Grand Slams series because their athletes have a lot of ranking from organizing G-ranked tournaments in Cote D’Ivoire since 2012.
“We can see the impact of these tournaments in the fact that they won an Olympic Gold and Bronze in Rio Olympics and World titles in 2017.
“So getting the Nigeria Open to be sanctioned by the World Taekwondo body is the way forward if Nigeria Taekwondo is to have players on the world stage,” Lawal said.