Three-time Olympian and Team Nigeria’s captain to the London 2012 games, Chika Chukwumerije, will be in action today at the inaugural World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Grand Prix holding in Manchester.
Chukwumerije is making a return to the ring after his last outing at the last World Championships in Mexico earlier this year.
The Beijing Olympics medalist, who will face Uzbekstan’s Jasur Baykuziyev, a silver medalist at the 2012 Asian Championships, in the first round of the men’s +80kg, is not seeded for the competition. He is also likely to confront London Olympics gold medalist and fellow African, Anthony Obame in the semifinals; the Gabonese is ranked number one among the eight athletes rated in the category.
Meanwhile, President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), George Ashiru, disclosed that Korea’s Sihwan Keum, who tutored the team to the 2012 London Olympics, will coach Chukwumerije.
“All 256 qualified participants from 59 countries are chasing crucial Olympic qualifying points. The small Nigerian contingent comprising the lone qualified athlete, Chika Chukwumerije, and myself are in Manchester to make the nation proud,” Ashiru said.
“This event marks the final major event for the NTF in its most dynamic and successful year since the federation was inaugurated by the Federal Government in 1987,” he added.
The WTF Grand Prix is the first of four global Grand Prix, with the final to be held at the end of 2014 and would be organised by Great Britain Taekwondo in partnership with Manchester City Council and UK Sport’s Gold Event Series.