*99 athletes from 26 clubs participated
Barely one month after Nigeria Taekwondo Open championship (NTOC) made its debut, athletes from parts of the country again squared up against each other during the just concluded National Open trials, with many carting away medals.
Top on the list of those who picked up gold medals at the three-day event held in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria were Rukayat Jimoh of Savic club, 18-year old Nigeria Open winner, Elizabeth Anyanacho of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), NTOC and Korean Ambassadors Cup champions, Abdulmajeeb Sanusi of Q-Madi and Charles Okon of Kebbi state.
While Jimoh in the -46kg weight category defeated Commonwealth medallist, Josphine Esuku who tried to battle back to reckoning after not-too-impressive end of year 2017 outings, lanky Anyanacho who shot to limelight in 2017 for the first time in her fighting career with two African championship victories to her credit maintained dominance in the final of -67kg to defeat Ifeoma Dennis of Plateau state in the female corner.
From the male spot, the rising profile of Sanusi was enriched the more after he posted spirited effort to beat Abdullateef Arinola of Lagos in the -54kg category. Another new sensation, Okon again showed his stuff and defeated Alexander Daniel of Nigeria Army after pulsating -58kg final battle.
Also, upcoming Peter Itiku who represented FCT at the -80kg surprising beat NSCDC’s Raymond Tiamiyu in the final. The likes of Shola Olowookere, Oluwatosin Akande, Sunday Onofe, Sadiq Abdulrahman and Ifeoluwa Ajayi representing Q-Madi club, Classic Academy, NSCDC, Plateau and Q-Madi respectively in the male category won gold medals.
In the female category, NSCDC athletes dominated proceeding with Sekiyat Adebayo, Chinazum Nwosu and Vivian Ndu getting on the gold medal standing.
Other female including Mary Michael and Joy Ikpeamaeze of Kano and UNIAbuja also got the golden crown.
Talking about how teams fared at the tare end of the competition which enlisted top athletes for the ongoing National camping in Kaduna, NSCDC, Q-Madi, Kebbi, FCT, Plateau, UNIAbuja, Kano, Classic Academy, FUTO emerged on the better side of the table just as the latest released ranking placed Sanusi, Okon, Ajayi, Olowookere, Akande, Itiku, Onofe and Abdurahman top ranked male athletes.
Expectedly, in line with their current form, Esuku, Adebayo, Nwosu, Michael, Ndu, Anyanacho, Ikpeamaeze and Onomonu as leading female Fighters in Nigeria at the moment.
A total of 99 athletes from 26 teams drawn from 16 different weight categories were at the open trials.
So far, Mrs Margret Binga-led executive Board of Nigeria Taekwondo Federation has organised three national competitions within two months, plus national coaching and Referees training programmes for over 200 coaches and Referees since its inauguration in the past five months.