Nigeria’s Olympic medalist Chika Chukwumerije, says the future of taekwondo is bright going by the youth development programme of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, NTF.
Chukwumerije said this at a practical training session for young taekwondo athletes participating at the ongoing Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) workshop in Abuja.
He said that the combine effort of the taekwondo coaches at the grassroots and the instructors at the centre had helped to reform NTF programme on youth development.
“The coaches around the country build them up from scratch, so they did the hard work of identifying them and bringing up to where they are.
“Obviously we have a vast knowledge of experience and I personally can take people from zero to be champion; what we do is to compliment.
“When you look at the ones from the government schools in the FCT, if you saw them eight months ago, there is a huge difference because they have been working personally with the foundation.
“Because of my wealth of experience, if I just focus only on people in Abuja, you find out that in a couple of years, these ones will be ahead of others because I am very current in the affairs of taekwondo.
“What we are trying to do is that when we bring these other athletes that come from these other coaches who done a lot of work, we are just going to add that tactical and technical knowledge to whatever they do, so that they will improve.
According to Chukwumerije, the NTF youth development programme in collaboration with the CCSF produced 18-year-old Abubakar Isah Adamu, who won the 2014 Commonwealth Gold for Nigeria in the -58kg category, in Scotland.
Chukwumerije expressed optimism that the ongoing programme would produce taekwondo athletes better than Adamu in the nearest future.
“Adamu Isa passed through this development programme and he is part of the Team CCSF.
“I expect that this current group of people, if they take back everything we have thought them and they keep doing it, they will challenge for laurels.
Adewale Esuola, a 15-year-old student from Oyo, said that the fitness training and experience so far gathered had broadened his knowledge of taekwondo.
Esuola said that he was looking forward to replace Chukwumerije whom he said was his role model.
“I am in this training to replace the likes of Chika; I hope to win laurels in taekwondo.

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