Jonathan Nnaji, Vice-President, African Taekwondo Union (AFTU) says efforts are on to upgrade the Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) tournament to a G-1 ranking – a world level championship.
Nnaji made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the ongoing 3rd CCSF Open Tournament in Abuja on Saturday.
Nnaji said that when approved, the CCSF tournament would serve as qualifying tournament for world and continental taekwondo events.
“I will tell you frankly that with what I have seen here, the journey of making this championship a world ranking event will be successful.
‘’This is because we have all it takes to host an international competition here.
“This is my third year of attending this tournament and each time I come, I notice that it has moved from a lower step to a higher step.
“I am the one representing AFTU and World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) in this event.
‘’I will tell them how it started and where we are and what I believe will happen if CCSF is given a world rating,’’ he said.
“The report we got is that, this tournament has usually been of high standard.
‘’This time around, Chika wrote to African Taekwondo body and they sent me to come and observe and report back.
“This means that the journey to it becoming a G-1 ranking tournament has just started and I am highly impressed with what I have seen here,’’ Nnaji said.
Nnaji added that AFTU had concluded plans to include the CCSF taekwondo tournament in its calendar of events from 2016.
“The AFTU President has mandated me to get the details of all the shows taking place here because it’s going to form part of our programme for next year.
“I am sure that the CCSF championship will be included in the African calendar because all the things technically behind taekwondo are here,” he said.
Walid Gouda, Chairman of Trainers Committee of AFTU, told NAN that the CCSF championship was as good as any other world level event.
Gouda, an Egyptian, who is in charge of WTF TV, expressed the optimism that the championship would be an international event as from 2016.
“I am surprised to find such a high level of organisation both in technical and in the athletes.
“May be I shouldn’t be surprised because the organiser of the event is one of the Olympic champions, so, when he thinks of organising events, it must be this way.
“I will make a good report and present it to the President of the AFTU, who is also the Vice-President of WTF about the high standard of this competition.
“Everything must be rated and presented to the AFTU which will forward it to the WTF board.
‘’I believe that next year, it will be approved by WTF as a world level championship,’’ Gouda said.
NAN reports that Nigeria, Ghana, Niger Republic, Mali, Togo, Cameroun, Senegal, Gabon and Congo are participating in the two-day tournament.
Twenty-four Nigerian states, seven universities and 10 clubs, the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police, Immigration and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps are also taking part in the event.
The event, which began on Oct. 24 in Abuja is expected to end on Oct. 25, has N2.4 million as its prize money.