A kickboxing coach, Adenuga Adeniji-Adele, has expressed optimism that the sport will feature in the 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) scheduled for December in Abuja.
Adeniji-Adele said that the Kickboxing Federation of Nigeria had requested for inclusion in NSF from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.
“We started serious training when the date of the festival was confirmed by the ministry but we realised that kickboxing was not shortlisted for the festival.
“The federation has done the needful; we are optimistic the Minister, Solomon Dalung, will consider us and absorb kickboxing as part of events for the festival,’’ he said.
The coach said that athletes had been responding to schedules at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, in preparation for the festival.
Adeniji-Adele said that inclusion of the sport in the festival would improve its standards and enable discovery of more talents for international competitions.
According to him, kickboxing should be encouraged as it has gone a long way to meaningfully engage youths.
“The sport has gained awareness in and outside the country, and many athletes have embraced it.
“The NSF is a major competition through which they can showcase their talents,’’ he added.
The coach said that none participation of the athletes in the 2012 NSF tagged `EKO 2012’ slowed the pace of their development and that of the sport.
The National Sports Festival is aimed at discovering talents that can be groomed for international championships.