Nigeria’s Bashir bags gold medal at International Taekwondo Tourney in Columbia

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Nigerian and United States-based Saturday Bashir has clinched gold medal in the welterweight division at the 2nd Columbia International Taekwondo Championships, held in Cali, Columbia.Saturday Bashir

The seven-day tournament, which ends on Wednesday April 9, had athletes from Switzerland, Philippines, Nigeria, Canada, Ghana, Benin, Chile, U.S, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, and host – Columbia.

Bashir, a 2013 Korean Opens gold medalist, defeated his opponents from Columbia 12 – 7 in the first fight, Chile 8 – 0 in the second fight, before going to stamp his supremacy over Ghana 10 – 8 in the final to win gold medal.

His opponent in the final Ghana’s Anthony Adjetey is ranked 14th in the world and with this result, this gives a clear indication of how Team Nigeria might fare over their African counterparts in next year’s All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.

Bashir represented Nigeria at the 2013 World Team Cup, and it was his performance at the 2014 US Opens, that made him to be among the few selected athletes fully sponsored to the championships in Columbia.

The sponsorship includes full return airfare, feeding, registration fees, medical costs and provision of hydration supplements.

This performance excited the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) that its elite athletes are showing top form, as the Rio 2016 Olympics is barely 28 months away. NTF athletes’ representative, Chika Chukwumerije, hailed the wonderful week in which personal sacrifice, determination and hard work of Nigeria taekwondo’s elite athletes brought collective glory to Nigeria.

“Saturday Bashir was my teammate to the 2007 All Africa Games. Back then; he was technically sound, physically fit and very hardworking. He is an athlete whose profile inspires our young athletes, and once again, he represented Nigeria well”,” the Beijing Olympics medalist said.

He added that the success stories of Uche and Saturday would “go a long way in motivating the young upcoming athletes, and has set a winning example that can be followed.”

NTF President, George Ashiru, on behalf of the board and Nigeria taekwondo community, has sent his congratulations to Saturday in Columbia, and urged all elite athletes to continue to grab international exposure and ranking points wherever they can.

However, one of the organizers Columbia championships, Edwin Montoya, who is also the Director of the Specialized Centre Taekwondo in Columbia, noted “he was very pleased with the diversity of countries, and especially with the presence of athletes from Africa, which is not very common, thus allowing better understanding and exchange among all cultures.”

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