By Muhammad Lawal
The Nigerian Taekwondo Federation (NTF) has extended its tentacles to the grassroots in search of talent and future champions.
Its National President, Alhaji Sa’idu Abdullahi, made this known to reporters shortly after handing out gifts, certificates and medals to prominent personalities and winners of the Children’s Taekwondo Competition held at the Haliru Abdu Stadium, Birnin Kebbi.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the inaugural edition of the Taekwondo Kids Competition in Kebbi State was organized by the Kebbi Taekwondo Academy.
Abdullahi said: “What you see here today is a 10-year dream, for the last 10 years we have been developing this academy and the essence is to help build taekwondo at the grassroots level and the only way we can do that is to catch them. youths.
“So, we established this academy to educate, train and teach our own children the art of the sport of taekwondo and taekwondo self-defense. What you are watching today is the first children’s taekwondo competition in Kebbi State.”
In a bid to encourage and develop the sport of taekwondo, the president noted that two competitions are scheduled in Kebbi this year, comprising the Kebbi National Open Championships scheduled for September and the Inspector General of Police (IG-P) National Taekwondo Championships. P) scheduled for November.
According to him, these competitions will give local athletes the opportunity to improve their taekwondo skills.
Calling on the Kebbi state government to invest more in sports in view of the fact that “it is big business”, Abdullahi recalled that the federal government had published a policy on sports.
“The state government should be able to reach out to people like us who are philanthropists and have a passion for sports so that we can partner with the government to advance sports in Kebbi State.
“Kebbi state has a lot of potential not only in taekwondo but in all sports, but they are just sitting there untapped.
“Remember, you can use sports to steer youth away from social vices, so get more youth involved in sports, the rest will be history.
“For the academy, we just started a year ago, but for the structure, it took us almost 10 or 11 years to get to the standard that it is today.
“These kids you are looking at today are future national champions and Olympic hopefuls from Nigeria,” he predicted.
Also in an interview, the state’s gubernatorial candidate, the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Abubakar Idris, praised the organizers for what he described as a wonderful job.
He observed that “taekwondo is the only game that every time you come you see an improvement,” adding that the structure on the ground testifies to the level of commitment of the founder of the academy.
Idris advised the government to join with relevant philanthropists to develop the game for the good of the state and the nation at large.
For his part, the acting permanent secretary of the Kebbi State Ministry of Youth and Sports, Alhaji Usman Ladan, described the competition as very amazing and assured that the talents displayed by the children indicate a brighter future for them in the sporting career than they chose.
He praised the national taekwondo president for his frantic efforts to develop the game to an enviable level in the state.
On ways to improve the game, Ladan said: “That’s why we’re all here.
“We are here to watch and see how and where we can advise the government to step in and extend a hand to improve the game.”
He noted with satisfaction that the current administration in the state will give priority to sports, ensuring that taekwondo will not be exempt. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola