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Chukwumerije canvasses early preparation for 2015 All Africa Games


THREE-TIME Olympian and board member of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, Chika Chukwumerije, has called for early preparations for the All Africa Games, scheduled to hold in Congo Brazzaville from September 4 to 20, 2015.

  Chukwumerije made the call following his observation of the ‘alarming progress’ being made by African rivals at the just concluded AFTU International Taekwondo Opens and Luxor Opens held in Egypt.

  At the G-1 ranked AFTU Opens, Tunisia won three medals (two gold, one silver); Cote d’Ivoire won two medals (one gold, one Bronze); Morocco won two medals (one silver, one bronze); while hosts, Egypt, won eight medals, including three silver and five bronze.

  Ruth Gbagbi of Cote d’Ivoire claimed the gold medal in the female -62kg, Ben Ali Rahma of Tunisia won in the female -53kg, while her male counterpart, Queslati Oussama, won the gold in the -80kg category, dramatically beating five-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, Steven Lopez of USA in the semi-finals en route to his golden victory.

  At the G-2 ranked Luxor Opens, Tunisia won one gold and one silver medal; Egypt won one gold and one bronze; just as Cote d’Ivoire won one silver and one bronze medal.

 Chukwumerije was not only impressed by the medals won, but also by how they were won them.

  “Morocco came with two athletes to the AFTU Opens, and won two medals. Cote d’Ivoire came here with three athletes, won two medals at AFTU Opens, and again won two medals at Luxor Opens. En route to a victory, Cote d’Ivoire’s Cheick Sallah Cisse beat Steven Lopez of USA, a five-time World Champion and two-times Olympic Gold Medallist, and also established veteran Damon Sansum of Great Britain en route to the finals.

  “Tunisia also repeated the same feat, destroying top ranked competitors en route to their victories.”

  “We are going to meet these people in six months time at the AAG, and they are competing all over the world, gaining crucial experience and confidence as they conquer the world’s best at these events.

“I am confident Nigeria Taekwondo will meet our formidable opponents half-way on the field of play, but we must start firm preparations now to stand any chance of making history at the AAG,” he said.

  Meanwhile, despite the impressive outing of some of the African nations at the tournaments, national coach of Cote d’Ivoire, Attada Tadjou, was of the opinion that African nations need to work harder together to bridge the wide tactical gap between Africa and other continents.

  “We have a lot of talents that can dominate the world, but these talents need to be invested in. Also we need to have a lot of training workshops and tournaments in Africa to help bridge the knowledge gap,” he said.

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