The maiden edition of the National Junior Taekwondo Championships has been fixed for January 19 to 20 2018. In a statement released by the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, winners of the national championships will join champions of the 2017 National Youth Games (NYG) for a 10-day training camp which begins from January 21st to 31st, 2017.
The venue of the Junior Championships is yet to be announced as consultations are ongoing between Enugu state and the federation.
The camping was initially to hold last November but parents and coaches of most of the teenagers asked for a date shift given that the initial period was too close to the examinations of the teenagers, who were mostly in secondary schools.
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It would be recalled that the third edition of the National Youth Games was conducted by the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports in October 2017. During the event, from the sixteen medals that were available to be won, winners emerged from thirteen states with Ebonyi topping the medal table with one gold and one bronze. Kebbi, Oyo and Bayelsa came in second place with 1 gold apiece.
Plateau and Delta came in third with one silver and one bronze medal each. Sokoto and Akwa Ibom came in fourth place with one silver medal apiece. Ogun, Osun, Kaduna, Borno and Ondo came in fifth place with one bronze medal apiece.
According to the Technical Director of the Federation, Chika Chukwumerije, priority will be given to the junior teams in 2018, as they are critical to forming a strong senior team in future.
“We basically need to build a relatively new team. If you look at the results of the last Nigeria Opens, 51 out of the 60 medalists were totally new athletes that had never been to the camp. We need to strengthen them and expose them” Chukwumerije said.
“Efforts must be made to expose our young talents to events like the junior world championships, African Youth Games, African Junior Championships and Youth Olympics that are all in 2018.”
This would be the first ever NTF owned National Junior tournament and camping.