*Charges Taekwondo federation to dust grassroots initiative
*We will be on the podium in 2020 Olympics – Binga
Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Dalung has charged the board of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) to revive its federation’s grassroots development initiative.
The Minister gave the charge when he inaugurated the board at a brief ceremony held at the conference room of the Hon Minister of Youth and Sports.
He frowned at the use of recycled athletes in almost all the federations while charging them to develop new ideas for getting new talents.
“I want to be invited to see young athletes of 10 years old being trained. I’m tired of seeing recycled athletes who have been on the stage for close to two decades. I will adjudge your performance on how committed you are to grassroots sports development because I am convinced that if you train young people today, our potential in future and our dominance in the next 10 to 20 years is guaranteed. We have depleted completely our professional athletes profile and we are just recycling them.”
At the inauguration, Barrister Dalung also urged the new leadership to resist presiding over the federation as sole administrator.
“Let me charge you that the era of sole administration is gone for good. Every Federation must hold regular meetings as provided for, quarterly. Inability to hold your quarterly meetings is inviting the board to sit and impeach you. It is a collective responsibility and the board is responsible to Nigerians.”
The minister said that he’ll be strict with the prudent management of funds from donor agencies, sponsors and partners and directed that a constitution of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation be developed within three months.
“Call a congress, adopt the constitution and deposit a copy with the Nigeria Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. We shall not hold elections again with guidelines in future. Without a valid constitution, it means the Federation will be managed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and you cannot complain of interference by the Ministry.”
Barrister Dalung recalled that the crisis in taekwondo was one of the first that welcomed him into office as a minister.
“I did everything possible to bring about a reconciliation but the differences were sharp and contrasting. The crisis affected the performance of federation at the 2016 Olympics therefore, unity is very important in everything you do. For those members who have held responsibility in the federation and are aggrieved, you must recognise their contributions to developing the federation. You must shield your swords of differences and give a leadership guide to support the development of Taekwondo in Nigeria. Taekwondo is one of the medal-fetching sports in Nigeria if there is unity of purpose among the members of the federation.”
In her acceptance speech, the newly inaugurated President, Margaret Binga, thanked the Minister on behalf of the board and pledged total commitment to the upliftment of Taekwondo in the country.
“I want to tell the Minister that the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation board will not disappoint Nigerians. We thank you sincerely for inaugurating us today and we’ll kickstart our programmes immediately. We promise that we’ll go back to the grassroots, discover athletes and harness them. We’ll sit and chart a way forward and we promise that with God on our side, come Tokyo 2020 and the next all Africa games, we will be on the podium.”