Judo: Team Bayelsa Win Commonwealth Games Trials In Lagos
BY ALIU MUKAILA LANRE
The National Judo Open Trials, the 2022 Commonwealth Games Trials which was held in Lagos was a platform for judokas from Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria to prove their supremacy in the Nigerian judo as they claimed the top prize of the event held inside Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere.
Bayelsa State judo team took the lead and were adjudged the winners of the three days tournament dubbed Road to Birmingham 2022.
The competition competed for by no fewer than 124 judokas across 19 states and clubs in the country was organised by Dr Musa Oshodi-led Nigeria Judo Federation (NJF) to select athletes who will be called to camp ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games which holds from 28 July – 8 August this year.
The competition was held in seven weight categories in both men’s and women’s events.
At the end of the day, Bayelsa State has five of its judokas winning gold medals and got automatic slots for the national camp. Apart from winning the top prize, Bayelsa State’s Ika-Bassey Nsa who is fighting in -73kg was adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament and was presented with a giant trophy to show for his prowess, Team Lagos were given the Most Behave Team award.
Nsa said after the competition that he is looking forward to the national camp with his head high and strongly hopeful that he would do the nation proud in the Birmingham Games by winning the gold medal in his event.
Chief Coach of Team Bayelsa, Bob Igoniwari was so excited seeing his judokas shinning at the Lagos trials which was tagged Rejuvenation 2022.
According to him, hard work and good preparation gave his team the victory in Lagos, adding that the nation must expect nothing less than good medal outing from all his judokas who will be part of Team Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games.
The President of the federation, Dr Oshodi said the trials showed the display of new spirit of Nigerian judo, adding that “I know that our fans have enjoyed the throws, falls and various techniques being displayed by the judokas from across the country. We can see that the narrative has changed for our sport. With supreme confidence, I càn say that judo is back in Nigeria and back with a big bang. With the blockbuster performance of our warriors on the mats, Nigerian judokas are now roaring to conquer the world,” said Dr Oshodi a 5th Dan judoka.
He was so excited with the hosting of the trials by the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Sports Commission and the Lagos State Judo Federation.
“Apart from providing facilities, Lagos also created a convivial environment which will make the trials remain etched eternally in our memories,” he said.
Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) Secretary General, Olabanji Oladapo, Vice President of Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, Ms Tayo Popoola and other dignitaries graced the closing ceremony spiced with product and gift items from Kellogs.