After a not-too-impressive performance at the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Youth Olympics qualifiers, Team Nigeria will again make another frantic efforts at international stage as the nine-man team will on Monday March 24 begin campaigns at the WTF-organised Junior Championships holding in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei.
At the Youth Olympics Qualifiers concluded at the weekend with 39 countries securing their places at the global tournament holding late in the year in Nanjing, China, Team Nigeria’s athletes, who are all making their debut at international tournament failed to progress beyond the first round.
In the draw for the World Junior Championships, the trio of Ogeh Ogochukwu, Esther Godwin and Ekong Iniobong will compete in the female -46kg, -63 and -55kg respectively.
Ogochukwu will tackle Greece’s Christianna Tyrologou, while Godwin will battle DR Congo’s Naomi Katoka in the first round.
Iniobong will also square up against United States’ Olivia Bryant.
For the male event, Olusola Olowookere will battle Turkey’s Emre Sayan in the -68kg, while Abdullah Adegoke will confront Syria’s Khaled Sadeka in the first round ties on Monday.
Also, Isah Abubakar Adamu, who weighed 53.6kg, will compete in the male -55kg and he is expected to face Honduras’ Aamaya Leonel while his second fight will be against the winner between Israel’s Zarisky Hillel and Malaysia’s Arikrisnakamy Navin.
Taekwondo buffs believe with more exposure, the athletes can hold their sway against their more experienced foreign counterparts.
At the Youth Olympics qualifiers, Adamu’s nervousness contributed to his 12-4 first round loss, while Bashir Mohammed who was leading up to the third round also lose to 11-8 to his opponent.
“Friday’s performance from the youngsters was really good. Iniobong and Bashir were the most impressive. Bashir was leading up until the third round where inexperience and nervousness cost him the match. 161cm Iniobong was up against the 187cm Croatian opponent but she fought really bravely. We hope that the youngsters have another chance to improve on their performances and gain yet more experience at the junior championships,” they said.