The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, has stated his resolve to work with the Karate Federation of Nigeria (KFN) to promote the sport in the country.
Kazuyoshi made this known on Saturday at the closing ceremony of the first edition of the Japanese Ambassador’s Karate Tournament held at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
According to the envoy, the competition will be an annual event aimed at discovering raw talents in Nigeria.
He said: “I took some photographs during the tournament, which I will send to the Japan Karate Federation to show the high-level performance of the Nigerian athletes.
“I would like to continue to support karate in Nigeria; this will not be a one-stop tournament but a continuous tournament.”
Mr Kazuyoshi said he was impressed by the level and performance of the Nigerian karate athletes in the tournament, adding the competition was “the first step to continue our contribution to promote karate in Nigeria”.
He also expressed his appreciation to everyone who made the first edition of the competition a colorful and successful event.
“At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, karate was one of the very popular sports.
“I am so impressed to see many karate fans here and also the karate clubs and athletes and I decided to promote it,” he said.
Mr Kazuyoshi said they needed the support of the media to also help publicize the game in Nigeria.
“We need the support of the media to promote the sport in Nigeria and without the media, the sport will not have the necessary publicity,” he said.
On his part, KFN President Silas Agara said he was pleased with the turnout of participants at the championship.
According to him, this is the best championship the federation has organised.
“I’m quite happy with the level of the competition and that shows that the athletes are waiting for more world championships to come.
“The athletes are quite energetic and we have first-class athletes that are here, so we’re quite happy with the turnout,” he said.
According to him, the essence is to organize more competitions that will help the federation to discover more talents.
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“We are looking at the cadet level to see how we can use them to replace the aging athletes in future,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 17 states, seven parastatal agencies and three clubs participated in the four-day tournament which was won by the Team FCT.
States Gold Sliver Bronze position
FCT Abuja 7 2 13 1st
Nassarawa 5 3 – 2nd
Delta. 2nd 4 1 3rd
Lagos. 1 1 1 4th
Cross Rivers 1 – 1 5th
Bayelsa. – 4 6 6th
Enugu-. 2 1 7th
Kaduna-. – 3 8th
Edo–. 2 9th
Oyo. – – 2 9th
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