EIGHTY contestants, Saturday, converged on Owerri, to display their skills in combat sports during the Cottage Mills Southeast Taekwondo Competition.
The event, which was sponsored and organised by Cottage Mills, and powered by Panamai Taekwondo West Africa had contestants jostle for different grades of medals and prizes.
The championship held at Graziella Events Centre, Owerri, featured the Poomsae & Kyorugi, Under12 and Under17 senior categories for both males and females.
Contestants at the events were drawn from Ebonyi , Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Michael Okapara University, Abia State and Imo State (Comprising of Dynamite Club, Federal Polytechnic, Nekede and Imo Taekwondo group)
Speaking during the competition, Chairman of Cottage Mills, Oha Ben Opara, informed that the objectives behind the event is to promote public-private-partnership in sports and also groom grassroots talents in sporting activities aside football.
Oha Opara said it was also an avenue to rekindle taekwondo and combat sports in general in the southeast.
Also speaking, one of the organizers, Kelechi Opara said that organising the competition was one of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility policy to promote good health and fitness among Nigerian youths.
Mr Opara opined that the championship forms an avenue to promote unity and to curb youth restiveness.
Cottage Mills, known for their agro and agro allied business which has Cottage Rice as its flagship product, in August, donated sports facilities and renovated the Dojang (Taekwondo training ground) in Owerri.
Contributing, World Championship Heavy Weight in taekwondo and Chairman, Taekwondo Association, Delta State, Grand Master Peter Oghenejobo, commended the organisers of the event, observing that it was a way of developing the sport and exposing youths to other sports aside football.
Oghenejobo, an All African Games gold medalist and Olympic silver medalist called on government, individuals and corporate organisations for their support in this area of sport.
In his remarks, Grand Master and former Chairman, Taekwondo Federation, Imo State, Ferguson Oluigbo, called for more taekwondo competitions so as to boost the sport in the South East.
Contributing, Grand Master Ezenwa Inya-Agha, who runs a private taekwondo association called for funding and exposure in taekwondo in the South East Region.
Godsfavour Otiuwariikpo , who won gold medal at the Under12 category in the event expressed happiness about the competition and called for more of such events.
Another contestant, Abani Blessing Marshal, who also won gold medal under the senior category, suggested that the event should be a regular occurrence in order to capture aspiring youths.