Abdullahi Saidu-Baba, NTF boss calls for new athletes, laments over late planning

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Abdullahi Saidu-Baba, the President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, has declared that Nigeria needs new talents in taekwondo and other sports in order to participate better in the international competitions.

At the recent concluded 13th African Games in Accra, Ghana, the Nigerian Taekwondo team won one gold, one silver and four bronze medals, after which he acknowledged their performance, stating that the wins came through a lot of hard work.

The Taekwondo President, pointed out fact that it was very difficult to attain their target of three gold medals.

However, he adviced the retirement of all old athletes to make way for new blood heading into the 14th African Games in Cairo, Egypt.

Saidu-Baba hopes that the process should be set in motion towards this year’s Olympic Games in Paris, France, as well as the National Sports Festival in November.

“I think what we need to do is go back home and check for areas of correction. Those athletes that are ageing, we need to retire them and start building up young athletes,” he said.

“We need to look at these parameters and begin to prepare our young athletes across the nation towards the next Games in Egypt. Aside that, we must look keenly at preparations. We need to give them enough exposure. These athletes need more competitions locally, more competitions regionally and more competitions internationally.”

In addition he said that the preparations for tournaments should start earlier with athletes competing in their required categories.

“Believe me, by the time our athletes go for the respective events that they fit into, we’ll be ready for the next African Games.

“Our biggest problem, though, is that we don’t start early. Why are we starting late – two months, three months? Our National Sports Festival is coming in November. We should instill these events into the sports festival. When we do that, we are preparing the mind of the athletes for what is coming ahead,” he added.

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