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Delays, Technical Hitches Mar Taekwondo Int’l Open Championship

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The 2019 Nigeria Taekwondo International Open Championship kicked off amidst delays and technical hitches at the velodrome of the Abuja National Stadium last Friday.
The tournament started on a forgettable note, as organisational delays and technical failure characterised the better part of early proceedings on Day 1.
Tidesports source reports that early signs of snags came when the replay specialist from Egypt penciled down for the event missed his flight.
Organisers had to source an improvised replay specialist.
Tidesports also gathered that the Opening Ceremony of the event could not hold as invited guests, led by the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, did not show up.
The tournament then had to continue without an opening ceremony.
And just after two fights, the electronic system malfunctioned midway into the third fight, forcing organisers to temporarily halt the event.
Orgernisers were still trying to figure out how to put the electronic system back to work when the entire velodrome was plunged into power failure.
To the dismay of some foreign delegates, power supply to the venue kept on fluctuating even as the fights went on.
A World Taekwondo Technical Delegate to the event, Myriam Baverel, however downplayed the hurdles while speaking with newsmen, stating that they were not peculiar to Nigeria.
“It is normal to face certain difficulties when staging this kind of tournament. Today is the first day of the tournament and as with every tournament it is always more difficult and complicated to start.
“We started late and are now facing some technical problems. But all these challenges will be overcome and, at the end, we hope to conclude that it was a successful tournament.
“I am confident things will get better as we progress. The most important thing is for the tournament to conform to international rules and the athletes compete fairly,” she said.
President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), Margaret Binga, also tried to put up a spirited demeanour, promising an interesting tournament and exciting closing ceremony.
“This is taekwondo and the athletes are eager to fight. Whatever excitement was missed by not staging an opening ceremony will be packaged into the closing ceremony,” she said.
According to the organisers, 121 athletes from 15 countries are participating in the tournament, which is slated to run between Friday and Sunday.
2019 Nigeria Taekwondo International Open Championship is a World Taekwondo-recognised G-1 tournament being hosted by Nigeria for the first time.
Binga said the tournament would help prepare Nigerian athletes for the upcoming African Games.
“We expect to see our athletes compete with the rest of the world. This tournament is an opportunity for our athletes to gain exposure and points because this tournament is recognised by the international body.
“You all know that the African Games is just months away and this is an ample opportunity for us to prepare our athletes ahead of the games.
“It will offer us improvement on our strength and provide an avenue for us to work on areas we have challenges in,” she said.
Also speaking about what the tournament offers, Baverel said it would propel the development of taekwondo in the West African sub-region.
“It’s the first time that a G-1 tournament is organised in Nigeria. So, it’s a big event for the future and development of taekwondo in this part of Africa.
“It is important for athletes because they can gain points and qualify for the Olympics. It is a great achievement to be able to successfully organise a competition of this magnitude,” she added.
In the opening fights of the tournament, Issoufou Mariama of Niger Republic defeated Khadidjat Adeyanju of the Nigerian Army 26-20 in the -49kg female category.
Lawan Sulaiman of Nigeria however revenged the loss by beating Mariama’s countryman Ibrahim Ousmane 16-14 in the -58kg male category.

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Amapakabo Confident To Move Abia Warriors Up

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Abia Warriors head coach, Imama Amakapabo has stated that if things go the right way with the right resources, he will deliver as expected.
In a chat with Tidesports source, he expressed confidence in his aspirations to the club but warned that it won’t be accomplished without hardwork and also the twin’ idealism between himself and the management.
“Everybody dreams, it would be folly of myself and the management if we have this pact and we don’t aspire, but a lot of work had to be done and let’s not forget that this team had been able to sustain herself and they are one of those teams that have not gone to relegation after coming to the apex league.
However, they have been a mid-table team but with the harmony and unification of working with the management, we will be able to go to the top,” he said.
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Administrator Explains How To Achieve Women’s CAFCL

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Women Football Administrator and Chairman of Nigeria Women Premier league side Adamawa Queens, Emmanuel Zira, has advised the Confederation of Africa Football on how best to actualize the inaugural edition of the Africa women champions’ league.
Zira speaking in a chat with Tidesports source said the ratification of the Africa women champions league comes with its attendant challenges which will put CAF in a difficult position to navigate without clear sponsorship of the competition.
He added that CAF would have to come up with a competition format that is suitable in the light of the economic realities on ground and financially viable.
“They have to develop a format that is suitable. And that is financially viable. It’s a welcome development but CAF also needs to refine, they need to fine-tune the women’s champions’ league, it cannot be the same with the men’s champions league because of the cost implication, sponsorship implication and because of public awareness,” Zira said.
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Kano Pillars Target Continental Glory

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Kano Pillars’s boss Ibrahim Musa has revealed ahead of next season that he intends to do well and make a statement on the continent when hostilities get underway.
Speaking in a chat with Tidesports source, Musa said beyond the target of winning the Premier League in Nigeria which he had earlier declared after renewing his contract with the Kano- based side is the target of at least a spot in the group stage of the CAF Confederation cup next season with the club failing on a number of occasions to go beyond the pre-group stage qualifiers.
He said: “You know last time I won the Aiteo cup and came second in the NPFL so this time around I am not looking less especially in this CAF Confederation cup because it has been long for Kano Pillars to do well in the CAF Confederation cup.
“So it’s high time to see we do well. My first target is to see Kano Pillars get to the group stage first. After the group stage, then we are looking for the cup.”
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