African powerhouse in taekwondo, Cote d’Ivoire is leading seven other nations to the Lagos International Taekwondo Championship, which kicked off on Thursday in Lagos.
The tournament, which is holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium also has teams from Ghana, Mali, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Niger, Benin Republic and Togo among others.
According to the Chairman, Main Organising Committee (MOC) of the Lagos Sports “Classics, Wahid Oshodi, the tournament is the climax of the classics for this year having started with table tennis in August, followed by chess, swimming as well as squash.
“Our aim for these classics is for us to ensure that we expose our athletes to competitive action as well as give them optimum exposure. I think with what we had done this year, we are satisfied and hoping that next year will be bigger and better. Although there are some challenges, which we hope to correct next year and ensure that we stage a world class competition,” he said.
The MOC boss however, commended the national federations for their immense support for this year’s edition, while hoping to expand the scope of the classics next year.
For the President, Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), George Ashiru, Lagos State should be lauded for staging the tournament, adding that this would also help the federation to prepare its athletes for major competition in 2014.
“We are happy that this year has been very fulfilling for us because it has allowed us to get to know our athletes better and also unearth new ones. With the Lagos Classics, we are still hopeful that new athletes will come forth so that we can identify the athletes for major competitions in 2014,”Ashiru said.
Meanwhile, organisers of the Taekwondo classics are still hopeful that countries like Tunisia and Senegal will join other teams in the tournament, while over 300 athletes registered for the three-day event.
Governor Babatunde Fashola is expected to grace the grand finale of the championship on Saturday