Needless to say, the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation has been one of the most prolific and dynamic Sporting Federations in Nigeria in 2019, with its aggressive pursuit of Taekwondo development at the grassroots, national and international levels; and its use of Technology and mass media communication to expand its database and communicate more effectively with its members and allies.
The NTF Media Desk EDITORIAL BOARD looks at the various highs and lows recorded by the Federation in 2019.
Historic International Events on Home Soil
In 2019, Nigeria Taekwondo Federation started and ended with two major and historic International events – the World Taekwondo G-1 ranked Nigeria Taekwondo International Open, which held between 7 – 9 February 2019 and the World Taekwondo Coach Certification Course which held 15 – 16 December 2019.
Both events which held at the Federation’s headquarters in Abuja marked the first time ever that World Taekwondo was having an international sanctioned tournament or coaching course in Nigeria.
National Senior Competitive Events
In between these historic international events, the Federation also oversaw the organization of four National senior events, including the National Trials Open Championships which held in Abuja between 26 – 28 June; the Korean Ambassador’s Cup which held in Lagos between 17 – 18 October; the Kebbi Taekwondo Open Championships which held in Birnin Kebbi between 9 – 11 November; and the season-ending Best of the Best Taekwondo Championships which held in Abuja, Nigeria between 12 – 14 December.
National Junior Competitive Events
The Taekwondo event of the National Youth Games, which held in Ilorin Kwara between 11 – 13 September, witnessed yet another successful edition with the Federation’s organizational skills on full display.
On the downside, the historic National Juniors_ Cadets_ Kiddies championships, billed to hold 17 – 19 December in Osun could not hold after the Osun State Taekwondo withdrew just two days before the start of the event citing its inability to secure funding. The short timing ensured that the Federation could not shift the important grassroots event to another city. The event which would have marked the first time ever that a national Cadets or Kiddies event will be holding in Nigeria.
The biggest event of 2019 was the All African Games in Rabat, Morocco where Nigeria’s Chinazum Nwosu picked up Team Nigeria’s first Gold medal at the Games and the quintet of Elizabeth Anyanacho, Benjamin Okuomose, Vivian Ndu, Uzoamaka Otuadinma and Sunday Onofe added five bronze medals to record a six-medal tally addition to Team Nigeria.
In April, a 16-person team went for the WT President Cup in preparations for the All African Games.
Prior to the All African Games, the team was camped for six weeks in Abuja, Nigeria and were coached at the Games by Mr John Victor and Alhaji Sani Lawal.
In October, Engr Chika Chukwumerije, who is the Technical Director of the Federation, was in Tokyo Japan to scout out the venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics alongside major Managers and Technical Directors of major Taekwondo nations like South Korea, Great Britain, Canada, China, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Germany and France.
Other countries present were Bulgaria, Chinese Taipei, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan, Austria and Hungary.
Commonwealth Gold Medalist, Josephine Esuku and Coach Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem were part of the trip to Tokyo, where Esuku competed in the female -49kg, one of the two events for the Tokyo Test Event.
Training Camp and Certifications
Earlier in March 2019, three-time Olympian Chika Chukwumerije because of one Africa’s only seven World Taekwondo Global Instructors, after successfully passing the course in Muju South Korea, while young taekwondo talents, Elizabeth Anyanacho and Benjamin Okuomose enjoyed robust exposure in a three-week training camp in Muju South Korea that was attended by 40 competitors from 25 countries.
International Politics and Appointments
In April, World Taekwondo Africa ratified the appointments of five members from the Board of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, into various Committees of the continental body.
The persons include: Engr. Chika Chukwumerije [Technical], Alhaji Sani Lawal [Coaching], Anthony Anafulu [Para-Taekwondo], Dr Mrs Pat Anyanwu [Women] and the NTF President Elizabeth Binga [Referee].
President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, Margaret Elizabeth Binga joined the Nigeria Sporting Community to welcome the President of the International Olympic Committee, Dr Thomas Bach, to Nigeria for the commissioning of the ANOCA Headquarters building and meeting with former, current and prospective Olympians.
Scholarships for our Athletes
Though collaboration with the Nigeria Olympic Committee, IOC Scholarship was secured for current African Champion Chinazum Nwosu to assist her qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The African Champion met with the IOC President during his visit to Nigeria. Already on the scholarship scheme is former African Champion, Uzoamaka Otudinma.
Through the initiative of the Sunday Dare-led Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, two full sports scholarships to the Nigeria Turkish International School was secured for two Taekwondo gold medalists at the 2019 National Youth Games. It starts in January 2020.
National Belt Grading and Referee Workshop
Two national belt grading with Kukkiwon certification tests were held, one in Lagos [in October] and one in Abuja [in February]. The Federation has erased the bureaucracy of acquiring the Kukkiwon certification while increasing the standard of the grading test to stem the downslide in quality witnessed over the years. Most importantly, the Kukkiwon certification has once again become affordable with focus now again on quality, service delivery and merit.
A National Referee Workshop was held between 21 and 23 June 2019, which was attended by 40 participants. The NTF’s Referee Database now stands at 65 persons, including 49 males and 19 females. The Federation’s set target is 100 persons by the end of 2020.
NTF, Technology and Mass Media
In 2019, the Federation also launched a Club Membership System to assist Club gain vital visibility to its markets and more than doubled its membership in the World Taekwondo Global Membership System from 430 at the start of the year to 960 by December.
The Federation also improved on its information dissemination to its members through its social media platforms – Facebook, twitter and Instagram, and boasts of an international standard website, that is constantly updated with latest taekwondo news from across the Nation. Furthermore, it launched an innovative bi-weekly newsletter that reaches thousands of readers across the world.
President of the Federation, Mrs Margaret Elizabeth Binga, undertook and passed a 6-month intensive course with her primary place of assignment, the Nigeria Customs Service, earning a psc after her name, and ensuring the Federation stands to benefit further from this advanced leadership training.
Member of the NTF Media Committee, Kuti Dare Gattuso, who has been a firm supporter of ‘lesser sports’ in Nigeria, emerged as the 2019 National Sports Award Writer of the Year in the Print category.
Setbacks & Challenges
Despite its prolificacy in executing well organized and impactful events in 2019, the Federation was severely limited by the unavailability of funds and an inability to secure sponsorship deals. The Federation needs to transfer its creativity in operations to its marketing department if it is to make a real impact in 2019.
The Federation also needs to get going in the area of Para-Taekwondo, which has seen little or no activity, despite the international rise in profile for this area of Taekwondo. Many states and clubs are yet to invest in this area and the Federation must do more to educate the various states and clubs on Para-Taekwondo and provide them the needed information to get started.