Tokyo Olympics: Taekwondo Federation hopeful on qualification

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09 Aug 2012, London, England, UK --- Jordan's Mohammad Aabulibdeh fights Nigeria's Isah Muhammad (in red) during their match in men's 68-kg taekwondo competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) --- Image by © Ng Han Guan/ /AP/Corbis

The Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), has expressed optimism of picking 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games tickets at the Africa Taekwondo Qualification Tournament slated for Rabat, Morocco.

NTF Technical Director, Chika Chukwumerije, said this to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja ahead of the tournament scheduled to hold between Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.

Chukwumerije said that the team had been training for the past seven weeks and were in shape physically and mentally for the competition.

He said that four athletes comprising two males and two females were shortlisted for the tournament.

The technical director said that the federation was awaiting the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development’s directive on the team’s travel arrangements.

According to him, the team are scheduled to depart Nigeria on Tuesday or Wednesday, subject to the release of funds from the ministry.

“I can assure you that we are good to go as far as our training and preparations are concerned.

“We are now waiting for the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to finalise our travel arrangement.

“Once everything is sorted out, we should leave by Tuesday or Wednesday because other teams have started arriving Morocco for the Olympic qualifier,’’ he said.

Chukwumerije, however, called on all stakeholders to support the team in their bid to secure qualification for the Olympics and the general development of the sport in the country.

“We have a young and dynamic team and an experienced technical crew.

“The entire team are driven and motivated and this is important to achieve our objectives, despite the paucity of funds,’’ he added.

Nigeria Taekwondo team were at the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Qualification tournaments, and only failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.