From Olawale AjimotokanÂ Â in Abuja
Grandmaster Kim Jin Beom has appealed to the National Sports Commission (NSC) to support Nigerian Taekwondo in the build up for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Â
Kim noted that with better preparations, Nigeria would win medals at the Games, following the non-qualification of any of its athletes in taekwondo event at the last Games in Rio, Brazil.
The South Korean, who also incidentally is the High Performance coach of the national team, shared insights with THISDAY yesterday at the Taekwondo Belt Grading Test held at the Korean Cultural Centre, Abuja.
Over 40 athletes attended the one day session and were upgraded to the next belt categories after they were assessed by coaches led by Abdulmalik Mohammed. Five of them were also given special prizes.
Kim, who has been with the national team for four years, stressed Nigeria is capable of podium outing Tokyo if the ministry of sports cushions its training programme with sponsorship to enable them camp and attend international tournaments. â€˜â€™The team is young very capable of excelling at Tokyo 2020. It boasts of talents, but the athletes can only excel if the preparation is proper and intensive. We need the right engagement and of course, the support of ministry of sports, because I am sure we can win medals at the Olympics,â€™â€™ the national team technical instructor said. He added that the display by the children and adults at the exercise reinforced Nigeriaâ€™s potential to be a force in world taekwondo.
The master instructor also said the Korean technical centre in Abuja would be upgraded to impact on improvement in training programmes and techniques to the standards of Kukkiwon, the world taekwondo headquarters.