Nigerian athletes campaigning at the ongoing 2021 UFAK Karate Junior and Senior Championships in Cairo, Egypt, began their quests for glory in flying start yesterday despite arriving at the venue of the competition due to the antics of the Egyptian Embassy in delaying issuance of their visas.
Nigeria’s contingent comprising seven athletes and two officials who arrived in Cairo Egypt on Thursday, a day to the 2021 UFAK Karate Championship, have won one gold and two bronze medals.
Rita Ogene won Team Nigeria’s first gold medal at the championship in -68kg senior category while the duo of Daniel Christabel Ochanya and Omu Joseph Olima won bronze medals in female and male categories of the -58kg and +84kg respectively.
President of Karate Federation of Nigeria (KFN) Silas Agara, who spoke to LEADERSHIP Sports, decried how the late issuance of visas by the Egyptian Embassy in Abuja affected Nigeria’s contingent performance at the ongoing championship.
“The late issuance of visas for our contingent almost hindered our participation in the championship because it affected the team both financially and psychologically, we needed to cancel our hotel reservation and paid higher because we got our visas late.
“The contingent arrived in Cairo on the day that the competition started, jet lag affected our team because the athletes went straight to compete from the airport.
“Despite the challenges we have made history in the African championship for the first time by winning a gold medal and two bronze and we hoped that the team would win more medals before the end of the championship,” Agara said.
no fewer than 300 karatekas from 23 African countries are currently competing for continental honours at the competition that started on Friday, December 4, 2021 and would climax on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.