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LAGOS/Nigeria: Bayelsa and Ekiti states came tops at the first National Open Judo Commonwealth Games Trials which ended on Thursday at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Sports Hall, Surulere Lagos.

All the 14 overall winners would be invited to camp in preparations for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England holding from July 28 to Aug. 8, 2022.

Chinwe Mba from Bayelsa and Blessing Agu from Ekiti came tops in the 14 categories.

Mba said she was glad that their hard work paid off and applauded the federation for giving them the opportunity to showcase their hidden talents.

She urged for more sponsors in Judo to ensure the development of the sports.

On her part, Agu said that she was glad she came tops in her category.

She added that she hoped to take the country to the next level in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in England.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Olabanji Oladapo, Secretary General, Nigeria Olympic Committee, expressed delight that the National Open Judo trials was organised by a first timer president of Judo federation.

He applauded the Judo federation for organising the event, while encouraging other federations to emulate the development.

“This is interesting enough that a first timer president of a federation will go this far to organise Commonwealth Games trials.

“The trials speaks volumes and I believe if he could continue to go at this rate and speed, he will achieve so much.

“If a federation president is doing something good we should commend him and I would continue to commend him of what I saw yesterday and his technical input into the game.

“This is how you will know a president that understand the sport and what he wants to contribute, on that hoarse that is why am here for the finals.

“I want to see some of the new discoveries and the technical display from these athletes because Judo has not gone out with us in a while now,” he said.

Oladapo added that if there were left over allocation of budget for the federations in preparations for the Olympics, Judo could had more athletes its team.

He also revealed that the minister of sports was doing so much to improve on the allocation of all sports federation.

“NOC cannot give you what it does not have and I also understand the ministry’s position, they are trying to strike a delicate balance which is important.

“Let us see how it goes as we continue there could still be opportunity, we can have extra budgetary allocation; am not saying we should write Judo off, but let us see what will happen.

“The minister is trying his best to get more funding for the federations we should not loose hope and continue to train and see what will happen,” he said.

In his speech, Musa Oshodi, President, Nigeria Judo Federation, said that the Japanese Embassy had played a major role to ensure that the trials was a success.

He added that the embassy had received the federation with open hands and had pledge his support to the development of the sport.

“I will like to acknowledge the role the embassy of Japan has played in the growth of Judo in Nigeria.

“My first assignment as the president of the federation was to lead a delegation to pay a courtesy call on the Japanese Ambassador, His Excellency, Matsunaga Kzuyozho.

“The Embassy has been there from the beginning and till date remains a source of inspiration to our federation,” he said.

He also appreciate the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for his constant support and development of sports in the state.

The winners from the men categories include; Ika-Bassey Wsa, Terlumun Gertrude both from Bayelsa, 73kg and 57kg respectively, David Joseph of Nigerian Police team, +100 kg, Progress Benson of the Nigerian Navy, 100kg.

Others include; Olutosin Ihaza, Lagos, 81kg and Fatia Muritala, Ondo, 90kg.

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