The newly-elected President of Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), Margaret Binga, has promised that her leadership would focus on the discovery of talents and better welfare for athletes.
Binga told newsmen in Abuja that her board would make deliberate efforts geared towards winning medals at all competitions.
She said this was because there were lots of talents at the grassroots level for the sport but they have not had the opportunity to showcase their talent.
“We will make sure that we organise competitions across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT so that the country can have the best athletes for international events.
“Over 90 per cent of members in the new board are athletes or former athletes. We know where the shoe pinches and we will ensure better days for the athletes so that the country can get more relevance in the game.
“We will also make sure we organise at least an NTF competition in each state of the country during our four-year tenure.
“This will give us the chance to get the best athletes and increase our medals in international events,” Binga said.
The federation president also said she would ensure the development of a data base for taekwondo athletes in the country.
“Our board will also develop a data base for taekwondo athletes in the country, so that we can follow their progression in the game and identify where there are gaps among the groups.
“That will help in planning for various local and international competitions, which is one of the major objectives of the federation.”
She also said there would be mixed-gender competitions, aimed at ensuring that the country raises athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Binga was emphatic in stating that she harbours no fears of not being able to operate effectively in the male-dominated NTF board.
“I have no fears. My sights are focused on the set-out goals. All other things are distractions and irrelevant.
“Since the board members key into the vision I have, and the media are supporting our efforts, we can achieve a lot,” she said.
Tidesports source gathered that Binga was elected as president of the federation at the 2017 National Sports Federations Election on Tuesday in Abuja.
Binga, a serving officer in the Nigeria Customs Service, is the first female President of the federation.
Speaking also at a media interactive session, 2008 Olympics taekwondo bronze medallist Chika Chukwumerije said there was need for taekwondo to start developing itself beyond government funding.
“With adequate publicity, taekwondo can generate some fund for itself and people will come and pay some token to watch, learn and enjoy the game,” he said.
Chukwumerije, who is the newly-elected athletes’ representative on the NTF board, said many people get attracted whenever they come around.
“After watching the game, they always get fascinated and will be willing to pay something to see the game develop in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Super Eagles’ Future Very Bright -Rohr
Nigeria national team coach, Gernot Rohr, believes that the Super Eagles have ‘good future’ after they played out a 1-1 draw against Brazil in last Sunday’s international friendly in Singapore.
The 66-year-old German tactician paraded a young team against the five-time world champions, following a spate of withdrawals by some of his experienced players, including Captain Ahmed Musa.
The team, however, gave a good account of themselves with Joe Aribo, making his second appearance for the Super Eagles, scoring the opening goal in the 35th minute before Casemiro’s second-half effort saved the South American champions from defeat.
The draw is the second in a row for the Brazilians after they were held by Senegal in last week’s friendly outing.
Rohr is impressed with the performance of his side but admitted the three-time African champions still have to improve.
“It was tough for us as the second game because Brazil would not have wanted to leave Singapore without winning, and it feels very good to know that we can play so well against some of the biggest names in football,” Rohr said in a post-match press conference.
“We didn’t have our best team here, but our wingers gave Brazil a lot of problems on the counter-attack and I am proud of our players. They can have a good future.
“We can still improve in defending set-pieces. We have height, with players as tall as two metres, but we have to be better in the air.
“It is not enough just to have good size, they need to jump well with good timing.”
Rohr believes African football is improving after both Nigeria and Senegal avoided defeat against the world number three.
“These results are good for African football when Senegal and Nigeria did not lose to Brazil, one of the strongest teams in the world,” he added.
Nigeria will hope to secure good results when they take on Benin Republic and Lesotho in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games in November.
Federer Still After Elusive Olympic Gold
Roger Federer has confirmed he intends to play in next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo as he chases an elusive gold medal in the men’s singles.
The Swiss great, who turns 39 during the Games, is one of the sport’s most decorated players but he has never won the Olympic singles title.
Federer won silver at London 2012 after losing to Britain’s Andy Murray.
“At the end of the day, my heart decided I would love to play the Olympic Games again,” Federer said.
Federer, who missed Rio 2016 through injury, did win a gold medal at Beijing 2008 in the men’s doubles alongside Stan Wawrinka.
In the singles, 20-time Grand Slam champion, Federer finished fourth at Sydney 2000, lost in the second round at Athens 2004 and reached the quarter-finals in Beijing.
“I’ve been debating with my team for a few weeks now, months actually, what I should do in the summer after Wimbledon and before the US Open,” added Federer, ranked third in the world.
“I carried the flag twice for Switzerland in Athens and Beijing, I’ve got a gold and a silver, and I would love to play again, so I’m very excited.”
Minister Moves To Give National Stadium, Lagos Facelift
Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has embarked on a bid to give the National Stadium, Lagos a facelift.
Dare embarked on an inspection tour of the decaying edifice alongside Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Femi Hamzat at the weekend.
In a series of tweets, the sports minister is keen on refurbishing the sporting facility ‘to the glory it deserves’.
Built in 1961and expanded in 1972, the hallowed ground for Nigeria’s sporting glory hosted the 1973 All-Africa Games. On the ground, the country lifted her first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980.
However, it has gone into disrepair since the Abuja National Stadium was constructed to host the 2003 All African Games.
The 2004 LG Cup Four Nations Tournament was the last football championship hosted inside the stadium’s main bowl. In the stadium, Senegal silenced Nigeria 1-0 thanks to Papa Khalifa Sangere’s 25th-minute strike to mark the country’s last outing at the imposing edifice popularly called sportscity.
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