Sponsor of Zainab Saleh International Female Karate Open, Hajia Zainab Saleh said passion for Karate is the reason for the consistent hosting of the Championships for seven years.
In an exclusive interview with www.aclsports.com, Hajia Zainab Saleh revealed that the number of participating athletes were low due to the COVID-19 restrictions in neighboring countries like Togo, Ghana and Benin Republic.
Saleh added that the championship will increase the technical abilities of the coaches, athletes and referees.
The International referee said, “The truth of the matter is that the championship is for the athletes; so we hope and pray that more of the come out in the next edition and I want to assure you that I will continue to host the championship for as long as I have breath in me.
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“The reason why the championship has been consistent is because I have passion for the sport. If I am not passionate about Karate, I would not have been able to host it for seven years in a roll and I am glad that I am able to bring young active girls together.
“What drives me is the motivation to try as much as possible to get the female athletes to increase the technical ability and at the same time reduce the rate of social vices in the country. I also believe we can get a lot of followership in terms of referees, coaches and hope they learn self defence.”
She expressed satisfaction in the level of organization of the 7th edition of the Zainab Saleh International Female Karate Open Championship.
“The 7th Zainab Saleh International Female Karate Open Championship was fantastic. The only thing I wished was that we had more participation. The major reason why the championship did have more Karatekas was that a lot of people contacted me on the issues of COVID-19 restrictions in their countries.”
Zainab Saleh said Nigeria can win laurels at International Championships adding that Europeans excel due to the number of competitions they attend.
She said, “Karate can win laurels for the country at international championships; the most important thing is for us to have the championships for the athletes, that is the only place they can practice.
“We have to be able to meet comparably with our international counterparts and the only way we can do that is to attend competitions. The more you attend competitions, the more they get better and that is one of the advantages countries abroad have over African countries.”
“The European countries have more championships back to back; literally every weekend in Europe there are championship and what is easy for them is transportation. These athletes jump on the train and they are in the next country competing; the next moment they are on the train back to their respective homes.
“The truth of the matter is that if we have more competitions these athletes can attend, definitely their skills will improve and they will be comparable to any athlete in the world. What makes European athletes different from us; NOTHING, it is just training and the competitions they attend,” she said.