Judo gold medallist Ekuta eyes medal in Tokyo
Gold medalist in the -63kg female judo event at the ongoing Edo 2020 National Sports Festival, Enku Ekuta, has said that her ambition is to win a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics holding later this year in Japan.
The Olympics-bound Ekuta, who represented Akwa Ibom at the festival, defeated all comers to win a gold medal at the University of Benin Sports Complex centre.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Ekuta expressed delight to be part of this year’s festival, adding that she had it easy beating her opponents because of the rigorous training she had coming to the Festival.
“I am really excited coming here to participate at Edo 2020 Sports Festival and winning gold medal for my state, Akwa Ibom. This feat was made possible because I had to prepare very well enough, even when it was postponed on several occasions.
“You know when you train hard and you pray over it, things become easier for one. My fights against my opponents did not last long. I only had two fights running to the emerging winner in my weight category because I was needed for the festival. My first fight didn’t last more than one minute and the second fight lasted for some seconds,” she said.
The athlete, whose mother, Catherine, was the first judoka to represent the country at the Olympics in Athens 2004, added, “I want to thank my sponsor, Accugas for the training tours because without them it wouldn’t have been possible for me to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“After this festival, I will be going back to training for the African Championship in Morocco and from there, I will be going to England for another training tour in May in preparation for the Olympics courtesy of my sponsor, she said.
Ekuka spoke on how she was able to gain qualification for the Olympics: “I qualified through the continental quota. I was the third person from Africa and the only person from Nigeria.
“In Judo, one qualifies from either the Qualification One, Qualification Two, and the Continental quota. Qualification One is when one qualifies from winning the Grand Slam, Grand Prix. The Continental quota is when one attends the African Championship, which is the African Opens, and you win medal and you keep on accumulating points.
“So, my points were just enough to qualify me for the Olympics from the African championship. Now that I have qualified for the Olympics, my aim is to win the gold. I believe with good preparations with my coaches and from training tours, which I will embark on soon, I should be able to achieve that goal,” she said.
Speaking on the standard of judo at Edo 2020 Sports Festival, Ekuka said: “The level is increasing because some of the judokas, who won at the 2018 Abuja festival were defeated, while some who nobody gave any chance won a medal at this year’s festival.”