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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Chukwumerije, others listed for WTF Olympics qualifiers

THE World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has confirmed 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medallist, Chika Chukwumerije, and two other Nigerians for Africa’s London 2012 Olympics qualifiers holding this month in Cairo, Egypt.

It is the final qualifiers for African athletes hoping to participate in the London 2012 Olympics, as the finalists in each weight category automatically make it to London.

Aside Chukwumerije, who is world’s number 29th athlete in the heavyweight +80kg category, Beijing Olympics quarter-finalist, Issa Muhammad Adam, who won bronze at the 2011 All Africa Games, will also be competing in the men’s -68kg category. The only female athlete representing Nigeria at the qualifiers is Joy Ekhator, who will be jostling for a place in London 2012 -49kg category.

In Chukwumerije’s weight category are eight athletes, including his conqueror at the 2011 All Africa Games in Mozambique, Ivoirien Zokou Saint Nom Firmin. Also in the heavyweight cadre is former world champion, Mali’s Keita Daba Modibo.

On his part, Adam has other 18 athletes competitors while Ekhator will compete alongside nine others. A confident national coach Osita Egwim told The Guardian yesterday that the country has the chance to book places in London considering the quality of athletes representing Nigeria in Egypt.

“I think we have 100 per cent chance of having our athletes in London at the Egypt qualifiers. I believe with the kind of training they must have been exposed to in Korea, they can take on any athlete in Egypt. They just need to win between three to four fights and they are sure of making it to London,” Egwim said.

Egwim, who guarded the team to second place in the taekwondo event of the 2011 All Africa Games, however, admitted that the athletes needed to be in their best against athletes from Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco, who are among the best in the continent.

For the past six weeks, the athletes have been honing their skills in Korea for the Egypt qualifiers under the watchful eyes of the new Korean coach engaged by the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF).

Before the team’s departure to Korea last month, an optimistic NTF Secretary, Chinedu Ezeala-Ogundare, said the team was poised to pick the three slots in Egypt, adding that the training in Korea became necessary to ensure good preparation for the qualifiers holding on January 11 and 12.

Ezeala-Ogundare expressed confidence in the team, saying: “I believe we can build on our performance in Maputo to clinch the four slots because the athletes are capable and with the training in Korea, they will surely do the country proud in Egypt.”

Aside the National Sports Commission supporting the team, the Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation also assisted in the branding and promotion of the contingent for the Korea tour.

Taken from:
Chukwumerije, others listed for WTF Olympics qualifiers

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