By Millicent Ifeanyichukwu
Lagos – The Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) says that plans are in progress with the management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to establish a High Taekwondo Performance Centre to enhance the sport’s development.
The federation’s President, George Ashiru, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos that it was to provide a comprehensive training environment with modern equipment for athletes.
He said that the body had met with the university’s management through the institution’s Director of Sports, Cecelia Arinye, who embraced the initiative and promised the university’s much needed support.
“We have a new vision in collaboration with UNILAG’s management to have a high performance centre and they have agreed to provide a space free of charge for erecting the structure.
“We already have the Olympic standard equipment on ground for equipping the centre to modern state for national athletes and coaches.
“The environment will be ideal because we have sports doctors, psychologists and researchers that have also indicated interest to partner with us in the centre that will also have accommodation for athletes.
“The accommodation will serve a dual purpose of camping and training, especially for technical officials and athletes who are combining their sport career and academics,’’ he said.
According to him, operating the facility will lessen the crash programme in preparation for international competitions which produces unpalatable performances.
He noted that certified technical officials would supervise athletes’ progress with the use of electronic devices to ensure adequate training.
“Whenever we need to present athletes for any international tournament, trials will be organised for them in the centre to enable us to get capable representatives that will excel.
“The purpose is to do away with inviting athletes for trials based on past performance but on current form and capability without sentiment,’’ he added.
Ashiru noted that the project would kick off as soon as the body got a feedback from the contractors on the financial requirements and duration of work.
NAN reports that a high performance taekwondo centre is a place set aside for regular training aimed to improve athletes’ skill and performance through scientific methods.