Abuja - The Nigerian contingent to Morocco, venue of the
taekwondo qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games, will leave Lagos on Wednesday
for the competition.
The Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) had earlier fixed
Monday for the team’s departure, ahead of the championship holding between
Thursday and Sunday in Morocco.
George Ashiru, President of NTF, told NAN on Tuesday in
Abuja that every arrangement for the team’s departure on Wednesday had been
Ashiru said the departure date was changed because there was
no need to arrive in Morocco before Wednesday since Nigerian athletes would
fight on Saturday and Sunday.
“The athletes will be in Lagos on Tuesday, from where they
will depart for Morocco. The flight has been confirmed and it’s a five-hour
“The hotel accommodation has been booked, and everything is
“Our initial date of Monday was moved to Wednesday because
our athletes’ fights will actually be on Saturday and Sunday, and there will
still be more time for us to acclimatise.
“Moreover, the logistics were not right and since the logistics
were not right, we didn’t want to go so early and, maybe, begin to have
issues,’’ he said.
Also read: Olympics qualifiers: Taekwondo team to depart for Morocco Feb. 1
The NTF president said the federation was fully prepared for
the championship, and was full of hopes.
“We are currently doing analysis on the countries that will
be participating in the qualifiers and, from what we have gathered, our team
has great opportunity to qualify,’’ he said.
Ashiru said the country’s team had every opportunity to
qualify for all four categories of the competition.
“The team’s confidence level will further be boosted by the
time the organisers release the tournament chart.
“But our predictions are based on statistics and not what I
“I believe we will qualify but I cannot predict that we will
qualify in all four categories, because that will amount to 100 per cent
qualification, which is not likely to be feasible.
“However, I believe we have one or two categories where we
have natural strength.
“Two of our athletes, Jamilu Mohammed and Uzoamaka
Otuadimma, have tremendous experience.
“Don’t forget that Mohammed won a gold medal at the 2011
African Games in Mozambique and reached the quarter-finals at the 2015
Alexandria Open. He also won silver at the 2015 African Games.
“Otuadimma got a bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2014,
got a gold medal at the African Games in Congo and she has a lot of advantages
in her weight category.
“Her ranking may even earn her a bye in the first round and
what that means is that she will have only one or two fights to qualify,’’ he
However, Ashiru also rated the other athletes ---- Chinazom
Nwosu and Edwin Samson ---- high, considering their different experience and
performance at international and local competitions.
NAN reports that Nwosu and Otuadimma will be fighting in the
female -57kg and female +67kg categories respectively.
On the other hand, Mohammed and Samson will fight in the
male -58kg and male -68kg categories respectively.
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