By Saheed Afolabi
Head Coach, Lagos Judo Association, Edokpolor Ihaza, believes Nigeria will win gold medals at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, next month.
Speaking at the preparatory camp holding at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Ihaza said the federation opened the camp to put the athletes in shape before the Federal Government begins its preparations for the games.
He added that selection trials would be conducted by the Federal Ministry of Sports, adding that those selected to represent the country will then enter another level of training.
“Our level of preparation is very high. As I have said before, we are undergoing the second federation camping as the first one held in Ibadan two months ago.
“After our camp, the ministry’s phase from where we will know the final group of athletes selected for the games, will begin.
“We will select the athletes ourselves and submit their names to the ministry. Our first camp was just a build-up but now, we are getting to perfection levels,” he said.
Ihaza assured Nigerians that judo will not fail in Birmingham, adding: “I have very high hopes of success. We won a silver last time, but this time, we are going for gold. The facilities here are in perfect condition and the secretary general of the Judo Federation, Wasilat Aliyu Abbass, has been with us here to ensure that all goes well.”
Former African and Commonwealth champion, Christy Obekpa Aremu, who is now an assistant coach, said she is satisfied with the level of the athletes’ preparation, adding that victory is certain.
She said: “We can definitely win gold because I was among the team that brought back the silver medal then so I have not just the experience but also the zeal.
“I am proud of the athletes, their conditioning, training and other things are top notch and when we leave here in the next two or three weeks for the final phase, I am sure they will be ready to not just bring back gold medals but also make the country proud.”
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