Maybe it has something to do with Nigeria’s national hero George Ashiru, silver medalist at the 4th All Africa Games in 1987, Team Manager of the 2008 Olympics, Seventh Degree Black Belt International Master Instructor, first time ever in Africa, and International Referee Class A, inductee to the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Hall of Fame, President of Nigeria Black Belt Taekowndo College, and newly elected 7th President of World Taekwondo Federation Member National Association (NMA).
Whatever has caused it, Taekwondo has seen a phenominal growth rate in popularity in Nigeria; nearly every private school in every major city of Nigeria has taken up taekwondo as one of the school sports. Potential champions are emerging out of universities and polytech institutes. Armed and para-military services have employed athletes in this sport. State sports councils have taken to paying athletes to play for them. The growth has been so prolific and so fast the Federation running into problems.
Many top stars are retiring from the sport leaving a gaping hole in numbers of qualified instructors; they need to fill in the positions with new talent. The Federation has a funding problem in building enough facilities to meet the demands of the growing interest. They need to manage data for long-term planning; before now there was little need for a database of active players and practitioners.
The Federation plans to register all officials and players, their qualifications, and ensure they receive adequate insurance. They plan to update coaching and referee education to ensure all meet adequate International standards.
George Ashiru is working hard to solve the multitude of growing problems while maintaining the growing national enthusiasm and support.
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