TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS
Former Team Nigeria Captain, Chika Chukwumerije, has warned that for the country to make headway in taekwondo at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo, stakeholders must align with the changes introduced recently in the sport.
Fresh from obtaining coaching permit at the World Taekwondo Federation/ Pan American Taekwondo Union coaching certification course which held in Las Vegas, USA, Chukwumerije confirmed that several changes have been made to the rules of the sport and that coaches in the country need to be acquainted with this development.
“I am grateful that I finally made it to the course here (in USA) after planning for it over a year ago. The new rules have really changed everything. The way a coach teaches his athlete must change if medals are to be won. Nigeria Taekwondo coaches will need to update their knowledge urgently if Tokyo 2020 is to be different.
The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games bronze medalist insisted that because of the changes, it will be difficult for even a previous medalist to make the podium now if not acquainted with the new rules.
“If an athlete that won a medal at Rio 2016 fights that same way that got him that medal, with these new rules, the athlete will most certainly lose to point deductions. Yes, the impact of these new rules and their application is that drastic,” revealed Chukwumerije who captained Team Nigeria to the London 2012 Games.
He admitted that as soon as he returns to Nigeria from USA, he is going to change his coaching methods.
“Once I get back to Nigeria, I will certainly change the way I have been teaching my direct athletes, and perhaps will help organise a taekwondo education course. The more coaches that have this knowledge means the more Nigeria taekwondo athletes can learn in enough time to make a difference at the 2019 All African Games and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” he counseled.
Chukwumerije stressed that even in the face of several challenges facing the sport in the country,
“Nigeria Taekwondo needs to stay ahead. Our practitioners need to know what is happening. I was so shocked that very few coaches knew about the new requirement. Our ability to keep ahead really depends on keeping our ears on the global taekwondo ground and making sure we spread the information and knowledge within our circles,” the 2007 African Games gold medalist observed.
Over 200 coaches from 60 countries attended the course in Las Vegas, USA.