11th AAG: Nigeria wins bronze in karate

National Karate Coach, Emmanuel Metu, on Wednesday said the country had so far won only a bronze medal from Karate event of the ongoing 11th All Africa Games in Congo, Brazzaville.

The Games, which started on Sept 4 would be rounded up on Sept. 19.

Metu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Brazzaville that Team Nigeria fielded only 11 karatekas at the Games. “It is unfortunate that we could not assemble a full team of 29”.

According to him, rather than a full squad, we managed to come with 11 athletes, compared to top-ranked nations like Egypt that came with their full team.

“I must also admit that the standard is very high here. We lost to Algeria that is ranked among the top three teams in the world at the semi-finals stage.

“So, I must commend the athletes for their performance so far, but we are hopeful for a better future in the sport,” Metu said.

Meanwhile, a female karateka, Sandra Afensumen, has attributed the country’s poor showings at the Games generally to poor attendance at national and international championships.

Afensumen, a bronze medalist in the team event at the 10th edition in Maputo, Mozambique in 2011, observed the that dearth of championships were adversely affecting the performances of her teammates at the ongoing event.

Reminiscing on her performance in Mozambique, Afensumen said the bronze medal she won in Mozambique would remain evergreen in her memory.

“Winning the bronze medal in Mozambique four years ago, remains evergreen in my memory, considering the kind of preparation we had then. We rarely have competitions at home, let alone attend international competitions.

“I must say that the bronze that we so far won here in Brazzaville is like a gold medal because. We worked very hard to win this medal.

“With poor preparations and competing against the top-ranked nations, we are lucky to have won a bronze,’’ she said.

The athlete noted that after the 2011 edition of the Games in Maputo, she had not taken part in any international competition.

“In Brazzaville, we realised that we are far behind the other countries like Egypt and Algeria that are among the best teams in the world.

“How do you expect us to compete favourably with athletes from Egypt and Algeria, who are far ahead of us in the sport?’’ Afenusumen queried.

She, however, urged the National Sports Commission and corporate bodies to support all sports, in order to help to push the youth empowerment policy of government as well as help general sport development effort.

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