Nigeria will be making a return to the global stage in taekwondo, as the duo of Peter Itiku and Chinazum Nwosu will be representing the country at the five-day tournament holding in Manchester, Great Britain, from May 15 to 19.
The Manchester 2019 World Taekwondo Championships marks the first time the event has come to Great Britain. The event, to be held in the iconic Manchester Arena, will feature seven mats, allowing the tournament to be compressed down into just five action-packed days.
927 athletes from 145 countries and one refugee team under World Taekwondo’s (WT’s) flag will be competing in 16 weight categories (eight men, eight women). And with 2019 being a pre-Olympic year, the battles in the Manchester will offer taekwondo fans a preview ahead of Tokyo 2020.
According to national coach, Victor John, Nwosu will be aiming to do better than the round of 16 exit at the 2017 edition in South Korea.
Itku, a national champion in the men’s – 80kg will be making his debut as part of his build-up to the 2019 African Games in Morocco later in the year.
“I think this will be a good experience for the athletes and I am expecting Nwosu to do better having featured in the 2017 edition where she was edged out in the last 16. She has the experience to compete with the best and I am hopeful she can make the country proud. Itiku is an upcoming athlete with a lot of prospects. In less than five years that he started taekwondo, Itiku has been able to establish himself in the heavyweight category with his performance.
Being his first outing, I am sure he will garner experience and hope for a good draw,” John said.
Nwosu will compete in the women’s – 53kg.
The Manchester 2019 World Taekwondo Championships got underway on Thursday, May 15 with a spectacular opening ceremony and breath-taking semi-final matches which saw Iran, Korea, and Mexico progress to finals.
A record 927 athletes from 145 countries plus 1 refugee team are registered to compete at this year’s Championships making it the largest by numbers in the sport’s history.
The opening ceremony included performances from local dance groups and a spectacular demonstration from World Taekwondo’s iconic demonstration team.