Commonwealth Gold Medallist, Josephine Esuku, thrilled a mammoth crowd en route to grabbing three medals – two Gold and one Bronze medal at the just concluded World Taekwondo Federation sanctioned Qatar International Taekwondo Opens, held in Doha, Qatar, from 6 – 10 March 2015.
Esuku started the G-1 ranked tournament by picking up the Bronze in the -46kg Kyreougi, when she beat Host, Shakha Alharty of Qatar [8-2] in the Quarter-finals before losing to Number 2 ranked seed and eventual winner, Hajer Mustapha of France in the Semi-finals.
The well rounded taekwondo competitor went on to blaze through the opposition in her area of strength, picking up two Golds in the individual Poomsae and freestyle Poomsae categories on the 5th and final day of competition.
Her strong performance at the tournament was rewarded as Esuku was awarded the “Best Female Poomsae Player” Award, the first time in almost 20 years that a Nigerian is winning tournament-best award.
It can be recalled that the versatile female competitor also won a Gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the Freestyle category, and a Silver medal in the Group Poomsae category.
Speaking on her victory from the Aspire Zone Competition Arena in Doha, the visibly excited University of Benin Graduate could not hide her tears of joy.
“I am so happy that I came here and won these medals, given the huge challenges I had en route to this trip”
She thanked the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation for their support
“The NTF and President Ashiru were very supportive of my trip, and I am happy with the outcome because it took a lot of sacrifices just to make this trip”
NTF Boss, George Ashiru, congratulated Esuku for making the country very proud yet again.
“This young lady has yet again provided inspiration to the Nigeria Taekwondo community, and has done very well. Against all odds, she has proved her quality and shown why she is a Commonwealth Gold medallist”
The NTF President vowed to continue creating opportunities for all members of the Nigeria Taekwondo Community.
“Our Federation will continue to support all genuine Nigeria Taekwondo practitioners that wish to expose themselves to the international circuit, especially members of the outstanding 2014 Commonwealth Taekwondo Team who had consistently replicated their top performance at subsequent National and International tournaments”
Speaking on the importance of further exposure of members of the successful Commonwealth team to more international competitions, the NTF Boss encouraged more sponsors to take advantage of the consistent success stories of Nigeria Taekwondo competitors to sponsor more current and upcoming Taekwondo athletes.
“There are many opens, and the only reason we do not win more medals is that we are not going for these events as often as we should. Esuku almost missed out on this trip, so imagine that we would not have this wonderful inspiring story to tell if she had not gone to Qatar”
For the Kyreougi category, there were 398 competitors registered from 44 countries, including France, Greece, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Turkey, Belgium, Qatar, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Croatia, Norway, Thailand, Morocco, Germany, Australia, Spain, South Korea, Algeria, Sweden, Netherlands, Yemen, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Isle of Man, Russia, New Zealand, Azerbaijan, Central Africa Republic, Niger Republic and Nigeria.
For the Poomsae category, there 119 competitors registered from 11 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Tunisia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Guinea, Egypt and Nigeria.
Esuku sponsored herself for the trip.