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LAGOS – Ferguson Oluigbo, the founder and Chief Officer of the PANAMAI Taekwondo Championships, on Tuesday said Ghana and Niger would join Nigeria for the 12th edition of the annual competition.

Oluigbo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos the competition would in Akure, Ondo from Aug. 7 to Aug. 10 with 250 taekwondoists attending.

He expressed optimism the participation of Ghana and Niger in the competition would further support the sport in the two countries and Nigeria.

“Presently, the 27-man team from Niger Republic has registered, led by the very popular Alfagar Isa.

“Also, a six-man team from Ghana has registered, led by Selorm Fayise, and we have so far 250 athletes who have registered officially to participate from Nigeria.

“This is the 12th year consecutively PANAMAI has held and we are committed to this championship because of its very serious effect on grassroots taekwondo development. [eap_ad_1] “It is because of the effect and the achievement we have seen we have continued with the competition this long.

“The PANAMAI championship has nothing to do with hype. It is purely a grassroots taekwondo which cuts across all ages.

“We have competitions in such categories as the Under-12, Under-16 and the adult,’’ Oluigbo said.

The also said the championship was hosted annually in states across the nation to discover and nurture talents to stardom, and thereby provide a platform for healthy competition.

“Taking the championship round the states is a way of bringing the game to the grassroots and this is the only way to bring raw talents out from the grassroots.

“Hosting international competitions at the grassroots will further expose our raw talents to international standard.

“So, when eventually they feature at international competitions, they would have gained enough exposure and experience and will not be overwhelmed by their international opponents.

“They will be able to stand up against experienced fighters and this will further encourage them as upcoming athletes,” he said.

Oluigbo, who is also of the Nigeria Taekwondo Referees’ Association, gave guarantees that officiating would be at the competition.

He also assured participants that the electronic scoring system would be used to minimise complaints at the championships.(NAN)