Prominent Nigerians are doing everything possible to ensure the country’s athletes participate at this year’s World Taekwondo President Cup in Morocco.
The World Taekwondo G-2 ranked president cup in Agadir, Morocco is scheduled to hold from 4th to 8th April, 2019.
The Nigeria Taekwondo team plans taking nine athletes, two coaches, one trainer and four officials to the G-2 ranked event.
Six persons have secured full sponsorship including two officials and four athletes.
The Vice President, Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, Abdullahi Saidu bankrolled three athletes while the Nigeria Army sponsored one athlete.
Individuals like; Solomon Dalung, Yemi Idowu, Bukola Olopade, Senator Shehu Sani, ESD Martial Arts Academy, Kelechi Chukumerije, Peter Osiobe, Faith Osiobe (Owners of pinkkee.com) amongst others.
University of Liverpool Alumni such as, Emmanuel Ekanemon, Samuel Kolawole and Dankaro Kwene contributed to the trip.
Speaking with www.aclsports.com, Peter Itiku thanked those who contributed to success of the athletes towards the championships.
Itiku revealed that is a sign that Taekwondo will get the necessary support before Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
He said, “I am happy Nigerians want us (Taekwondo) athletes to succeed by making sure we partake at the World Taekwondo President Cup in Morocco. We had lost all hope but the technical director, Chika Chukwumerije (OLY) informed us that some Nigerians are already supporting us financially.
“I want to say thank you to every individual who has contributed a penny to our success story”.
2008 Benjing Olympics bronze medallist, Chika Chukwumerije explained to www.aclsports.com that the reason why the federation avoided the ministry was because they have pledged to support the federation ahead of the World Championships in May.
He said the federation approached Solomon Dalung as an individual and not as the sports minister to contribute his quota.
Chukwumerije said, “Before this move for financial assistance was made, an arrangement was done but fell apart. I wrote to the Alumni of University of Liverpool and have been getting supports from individuals. I also approached my colleague in the sports industry; Bukola Olopadewho donated hugely to our project.
“Government alone cannot invest in sports and that is why we are calling on the private sector to partner with the federation. Most of these athletes have the potential of winning an Olympic medal in the next 12 years.
“I was 19 years when I went to my first Olympics in 2004. Someone stood in the gap for me then, and it took me to an Olympic medal. Thus, I stand in the gap for them hoping that I can convince you to support these youths now”.
He further said, “Our competing athletes have an average age of 19 and they are from underprivileged backgrounds, but they have huge talents and have worked very hard to be at this event. They need to depart by 6am on Thursday and I am trying to leverage on my network to assist to raise the 2.8 million balance needed to offset the cost of the entire trip. I have raised 3.3 million naira from 20 donations since morning”.
The Nigeria Taekwondo Federation as at 9pm is still in need of N2.8 million.