Nigeria’s long wait for a gold medal in the taekwondo event at the Olympic Games will soon be over.
The country’s best outing is a bronze medal won by Chika Chukwumerije at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
But now one of the country’s fastest growing taekwondo clubs, Bodyweapon Taekwondo Academy of Lagos has tacitly served notice that it would produce Nigeria’s first Olympic gold medalist in the oriental art.
The notice was served on Saturday in the form of a challenge to students of the Academy during the celebration of a student, Miss Patricia Yekeen who won three medals at the 26th edition of the NUGA Games.
Miss Yekeen won gold in pair poomsae silver in individual poomsae and bronze in team poomsae
In his opening remarks at the occasion held at the Frontliners Schools in the Alagbado area of Lagos, the Media and Communications Director, Mr. Jerome Braih praised Miss Yekeen for her feat.
According to him “We are here today to celebrate the feat achieved by Miss Patricia Yekeen who bore the Bodyweapon Taekwondo Academy “can-do-spirit” in her heart and competed for the University of Lagos at the 26th edition of the NUGA Games.
“She won gold in poomsae(pair) silver in poomsae(individual) and bronze in poomsae(team).
“With this historic feat, she has brought honour to herself, her institution, UNILAG and our great Academy”.
The media chief continued “To Patricia, we the members of the Parents Forum of the Bodyweapon Taekwondo Academy are very grateful”.
Mr Braih the charged the students of the Academy to draw inspiration from the performance of Miss Yekeen, and also win laurels for the Academy.
“To you the students, you have to emulate Patricia, do well in any competition and also bring honour to the Academy”.
He told the triple champion Patricia and the other students that it was possible for them to win the elusive Olympic Games gold medal for the country if they remained focused and dedicated to their training.
“With Patricia’s historic feat, we have started celebrating champions and we are going to celebrate more champions, not just of NUGA Games, but even Olympic Games gold medalists.
“I believe that you all have what it takes to be gold medalists at the Olympic Games. All you need is focus and dedication to your training”.
Chief instructor of the Academy, Emmanuel Banjo who introduced taekwondo to Patricia as a raw, innocent beginner hailed her ward for her NUGA Games achievement. He also set new goals for her.
“As her coach from the beginning of her taekwondo journey up until now, I am proud of her achievement even though I expected three gold medals from her.
“However, in subsequent outings, I’d expect nothing less than gold medals whether in NUGA Games or any major outing”
Banjo thanked members of the Parents Forum for organising the reception which he said took him by surprise as he didn’t have prior notice.
Elated Miss Yekeen fighting back tears of joy thanked the Parents Forum and her coaches for honouring her.
She promised to win more laurels for the Academy as a way of reciprocating the Parents Forum gesture.
For the triple champion, it was double celebration as she also marked her birthday on Saturday.
She was presented with her portrait and other gifts by Mr. Sam Ohwi and Welfare and Social Affairs Director, Mrs. Adetola Oluwaseyi.
Members of the Parents Forum who graced the occasion with their distinguished presence were Mr. Sam Ohwi, Mr. Jerome Braih, Mrs Adetola Oluwaseyi, Mr. Johnson David Taiwo, Miss Anne Esse, Mr. Sebastian Okundaye Omorodion, Mr. David Nathaniel, Mrs. Georgina Omotosho and Mr. and Mrs. Ajayi