Rio 2016: Taekwondo Federation Bemoans Shoddy Preparations, Funding | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Rio 2016: Taekwondo Federation Bemoans Shoddy Preparations, Funding

Posted: Oct 26, 2015 at 9:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) says lack of funds is hindering its preparation for the 2016 Olympics scheduled to hold in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Vice President of the federation, Mrs Margaret Binga, a two-time All African Games (AAG) gold medallist, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday that the situation had denied Nigerian athletes the opportunity of amassing qualification points for the Olympics.

Binga, who is the technical director of the ongoing Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) Taekwondo Open Championship in Abuja, urged the Federal Government to come to the aid of the federation.

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“You gain more points as you go to every G-1, G-2 around the world, but our constraint mostly for Nigeria is funds.

“Government is trying, but I will appeal for it try harder because Olympics is not a child’s play; other countries have started preparing for the Olympics the very year the last Olympics ended.

“Olympic athletes need special funds; they need to go to all manner of championships and their health needs to be taking care of.

“An athlete who is preparing for Olympic does not just wait till when there is Olympics; he needs to go and mix up with other athletes in the world.

“That’s how they will build their confidence and heighten their ranking; that way, they move closer to qualifying for the championship.’’

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She said that the ongoing CCSF championship had given the athletes and officials the needed experience for the Olympics, but observed that the experience needed to be backed-up by amassing Olympics qualification points at international competitions.

“I will rate this championship is a great opportunity for our athletes because this the first time in Africa that we are using the electronic head-guard; it wasn’t even used at the 11th African Games.

“So, this is an opportunity for our players and players in Africa to key into the expectations of the Rio Olympics.

“We have the Olympic qualification coming up in February; we have another G-1 event coming up in Morocco and the type of equipment we are using here are what they are going to use there.

“So, it is an opportunity because the new equipment won’t be strange to the athletes when they go out there.’’

According to the NTF vice president, most of the coaches and referees are seeing the new electronic head-guard for the first time and it has given them an insight into what to expect at the Olympics.

NAN reports that Nigeria, Ghana, Niger Republic, Mali, Togo, Cameroun, Senegal, Gabon and Congo are participating in the two-day CCSF tournament.

Twenty-four Nigerian states, seven universities and 10 clubs, the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police, Immigration and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps are also taking part in the event.

The event, which began on Oct. 24 in Abuja, is expected to end on Oct. 25, with a N2.4 million as its prize money.