By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
Nigeria has won gold medal at the 4th African Judo Open which took place in Dakar,Senegal.
In the 63kg women category final held on Saturday, 14 November, Nigerian judoka, Enku Ekuta defeated the 2019 African Games champion, Helene Dombeu of Cameroon to win the gold.
The Akwa Ibom State born Ekuta, who is sponsored by Accugas, a Savannah Energy Company, qualified for the final after defeating Carolina Delgado of Cape Verde and Anastasiya-Alexander Nenova of South Africa in the preliminary pool.
The victory was Ekuta’s first continental open gold medal and the second time she will defeat the 33-year old Dombeu at a continental open. The Nigerian champion won with an ippon after over three minutes of the keenly contested bout, which saw both fighters accumulating two penalties each.
The victory has now added 100 IJF world ranking points to Ekuta’s profile, as she continues to garner points to secure qualification for the 2021 Summer Olympic Games which takes place in Tokyo, Japan.
Nkoyo Etuk, Head of Stakeholder Relations and Communication, Savannah Energy in a statement said
“We congratulate Enku Ekuta on the remarkable victory in Dakar. She was the only judoka from Nigeria who participated at the 4th African Judo Open.
“ Enku’s performance has justified the confidence we have in her talent which inspired the deal to sponsor her training and competition to ensure she qualifies for and participates at the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
“We are optimistic that she will win more continental open to secure enough points to qualify for the Olympics”.
On her part, Enku said “I feel excited winning my first continental gold. I want to thank God for this victory. I also thank my sponsor, Accugas for ensuring that I had all the support I needed to participate in the competition.
“The Nigeria Judo Federation (NJF) has also been supportive. My performance in Dakar will motivate me to work harder in upcoming competitions”.
Ahead of the African Judo Open in Senegal, Ekuta won a bronze medal at the 2020 Yaoundé Senior African Open Judo Championship held at the indoor hall of Yaoundé Versatile Sports Complex from Saturday, November 7 to Sunday, November 8, 2020.
In the bronze medal bout, Ekuta bounced back from her semi-final loss to defeat Anastasiya-Alexander Nenova of South Africa by ippon.