Over 30 teams across the country are expected to arrive in Delta State, next month, for the National Judo Open Championship holding at the Delta State University (DELSU) Sports Complex, Abraka between February 12 and 15.
According to the Nigerian Judo Federation (NJF) President, Musa Oshodi, the contest is aimed at uncovering talents from the grassroots and also serves as a selection process to pick credible judokas for the African qualifiers ahead of next year’s Olympics.
Musa noted that the National Judo Open would be a festival of the sport, as judokas would take part in the junior, cadet and senior categories.
“The Nigeria Judo Federation is collaborating with the Delta State University to organise the National Judo Championship. The federation is staging the championship in continuation of the programmes lined out last year.
“We are also putting the event in place to rank judokas as well as select the best talents that would earn good points and take part in the African qualifiers for the 2024 Olympics.
“For Nigeria to excel in any event, the athletes must involve in different championships to keep them in top shape ahead of the challenges. Over 30 teams made up of clubs, state and institutions would take part in the event,” he said.
Also, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Chairman for the National Judo Open Championship, Prof. Ochuko Nabofa, said that DELSU decided to be part of the event as a way of assisting the country to uncovers more talents in the sport.
“The Nigeria judo team has not qualified for the Olympics in a long time. This is why Delta State University is working together with the NJF to discover talents from the grassroots. In other advanced climes like the United States, universities groom and produce talents in various sports and have gone ahead to win laurels for the country.
“This is what the university is forging ahead to replicate in Nigeria by being at the forefront of sports development in the country. The university is ready to host the National Judo Open and other sports championships. We have the capacity to groom talents in sports,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a bid to improve the technical and officiating aspect of judo, the NJF in collaboration with DELSU has concluded plan to organise a five-day referees and coaching course fixed for the Indoor Sports Hall, Campus 3, Delta State University, Abraka from February 7 to 11. Secretary of the NJF, James Eakyns, stated that certificates would be awarded to participants at the end of the programme.