By Olayinka Elebute, Oluwole Francis, Abuja
A major upset which dazzled the entire Taekwondo fraternity in Birnin Kebbi, venue of maiden Kebbi Open Taekwondo Championship happened Monday night in the -58kg category when fifth seed Daniel Inaju of team CSSF turned things around and defeated second seed and reigning national champion Charles Okon who fights for host side Kebbi state.
Based on record, Okon won gold at previous Nigeria Open, National Trials. He also clinched bronze medals at different Korea Ambassadors Championships as well as silver in another National Trials.
On the other hand, Kogi-born Inaju won bronze at National Junior Championship which signalled a start in his promising career, stirred first upset at National Trials in 2019 (being his first senior outing) when he emerged as vice Champion.
Talking about the overall performance, after three days of intense action amidst intrigues and upsets, host team Kebbi with overall 17 medals comprising three gold, four silver and 10 bronze has been declared winner of maiden edition of Kebbi Open Taekwondo Championship. Two of their gold medals were in Poomsae, a non-Olympic medal.
The event with double events display – Poomsae and Kyeorugi held inside Hauru Abdul stadium in Birnin Kebbi produced perennial winners Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and team Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) as second and third placed sides respectively.
While NSCDC polled seven medals made up of three gold, three silver and one bronze, CCSF got six medals – two gold, three silver and one bronze. Both CCSF and NSCDC actually emerged victorious exclusively in Kyeorugi, an Olympic event. While CCSF won two gold, NSCDC got same number of the most rated medal.
Five other teams team didn’t leave Birnin Kebbi empty handed. There were Nigerian Army, team Lagos, Q-Madi TKD, Nigerian Navy and team Kano.
In order of mention, the Army team finished fourth with four medals – one gold, one silver and two bronze. Team Lagos travelled back all the way with two medals made up of one gold and bronze and were rated fifth.
The sixth position went to Q-Madi TKD with one gold medal. Nigeria Navy and team Kano were adjudged joint seventh. They bagged bronze each.
In specifics, Kebbi’s blitz was made possible after they garnered two gold, one silver and two bronze in Poomsae alone.
In the individual attainment, Benjamin Okuomose and Josephine Esuku were awarded as the best male and female athlete of the tournament. Of course, host Kebbi with most of the medals, was declared best team of the tournament.
Samson Akpede emerged as best referee at the end of hostilities.