Photo Gallery
Click to view





View all articles

The much awaited 1st ITF Umpire Course in Africa and the 2nd ITF Intercontinental Cup came and went in Lagos, Nigeria, between March 31st to April 2nd 2006. The event, which attracted participants from 12 Countries was history in the making as it marked the first official foray of the ITF in Africa after forty years, and coming on the month of the 40th anniversary of the ITF it was apt and well received.

The event, was hosted be ITF-Nigeria, on behalf of the ITF Africa Region. University of Lagos, always at the forefront of sports development, agreed to host the seminar and championships, providing world class facilities that can host an ITF world championships. The programme initially suffered a scare due to interference by the members of the WTF national federation and the South Korean Embassy, and was eventually also affected by the fact that it coincided with the Nigerian Olympic games, which started the same weekend, and which caused the withdrawal of about 50 pre registered instructors. However, a total of 55 instructors participated in the ITF Umpire Course, including instructors from Ireland, England, Senegal, Gambia, Nigeria, Nepal, Algeria, Ghana and late arrivals from Burkina Faso, Pakistan and Benin Republic.

From the 27th of March to the 30th of March, participants arrived from their various countries and were lodged in various hotels of their choices, close to the venue of the seminar. Hospitality and Accommodation, was assigned to a committee led by Mr. Mykel Eneduwa and Austine Entonu. ITF Nigeria President, George Ashiru, a member of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, concentrated on getting all the logistics on the ground, while a record 20 media houses were coordinated by Mr. Patrick Ibe. Other organising committee members who worked unseen, yet tirelessly, for the success of the events include: Mr Emmanuel Oghenejobo, 5th Degree, Miss Arinola Okafor, 2nd Degree, Mr. Kenny Sogbesan, Director of Sports Coach Aina James and Mr. Mikail Idrees, 2nd Degree.

In the first few days, the foreign participants enjoyed the varied African nightlife and visits to places of interest. Master Trevor Nicholls, arrived to the warm atmosphere of the Londoner restaurant, which as almost home from home, while Mr. Michael Tibollo and his daughter Frances, who arrived earlier braved the roads and multiple security check points to traverse Nigeria by Land and air in less that 36 hours. The ITF Ambassadors to Africa, Don and Patricia Dalton, had also arrived with Sean Keane and Shane Fitzgibbon from Ireland and gotten straight down to the business of training early birds on Thursday, 30th March. Mr. Antony Panteli, also arrived to the hustle and bustle of the city of 15 million people.

Master Trevor Nicholls, who started the training programme on Friday March 31st, with about 45 Instructors present. In 7 hours, and with the assistant of Mr. Don Dalton, 6th Dan, and other European instructors, broke down the class into units, teaching the uniqueness of the ITF way with special emphasis on Grandmaster Chois, unique interpretation of Taekwon-Do, in the use of both sine wave technical application as well as natural use of the body momentum in applying techniques. The sweltering heat caused the programme to terminate at 6pm, much earlier than the African participants were used to. Most participants had hoped to learn as much as possible and were prepared to go on till 10pm at night if required. After a deserved rest, our visitors, including ITF Nepal President, Laxman Basnet and Messrs Sadr and Khial from Algeria went on various entertainment routes, taken by the untiring Mykel.

By the 2nd Day of the seminar, April 1st, there were 65 participants, and courtesy of the benevolence of our visitors many received new doboks and sparring equipments, and the picture of ITF in Africa was beautiful to watch with all moving in unison as led by Master Nicholls. Mr Tibollo, who arrived after noon from his whirlwind tour of Nigeria, was still energetic enough to don his uniform and assist in training and providing a beautiful presentation on ITF philosophy which went down well with the participants. Again, the 2nd days training ended early enough to prepare for the official dinner hosted by the Sheraton hotel in Lagos. The beautiful dinner in the bustling hotel was attended by all the ITF delegates including Mr. and Mrs. Okpata, from the Voice of Nigeria (VON). Messrs Bachir Farkuri and Nicholas Panteli arrived the same night from England, and were ushered straight into the Sheraton.

On Sunday 2nd of April, a noon meeting was schedule with all the country delegates present to discuss issues relating to ITF developments in their various regions. The meeting also had in attendance, a representative of the Ambassador of Gambia in Nigeria. By 2pm, all delegates moved to the University of Lagos Sports hall for the grande finale of the seminar the Intercontinental Cup.

The Intercontinental Cup had five men teams from Europe and Africa. Both teams boasting of quality fighters. Mr. Don Dalton led the European Team while Mr. George Ashiru led a hurriedly assembled Africa Team. The match started at about 5pm with a Master Trevor Nichols and Mr. Tibollo at the head of court, assisted by Mr. Emmanuel Oghenejobo, 1992 Olympic heavyweight Silver medalist. The African Team included Athens Olympian and Belgian Opens Champion and All Africa Games Silver medalist as well as British WTF National Champion, Martins Obiorah. Though highly experienced in fighting both ITF and WTF rules, the African team was under instruction from Mr. Ashiru to fight in a controlled and professional way, according to ITF sparring rules, so as not to have any unfortunate incidence. The team comprised Martins Obiorah, Osita Okonya, Bola Otubushin, Mohammed Mahadi and Made Williams. At the centre was Mrs. Patricia Dalton, 4th Dan, and a very experienced competitor herself.

At the end of the 5 matches Team Europe won a 3-wins to 2-draws decision to receive the Intercontinental Belt. Almost immediately, the special techniques event for the African Opens began and a very excited audience watched highly talented competitors giving their very best in standards that could easily have won an ITF World Championships. Eventually, Lee Hollingsworth, from England showed stuff that made him a world junior champion by taking gold, followed by Aaron Akpurio from Nigeria for Silver and Idr Khial from Algeria winning a bronze for his efforts.

After the matches special awards were made by the ITF to Professor Ibidapo-Obe, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos and to Dr (Mrs.) Adebayo, the Chairperson of the Sports Council. An award was also presented by the ITF to Mr. George Ashiru, the host of the seminar. Within hours, about half of our European guests were at the airport for their return trip to their homes after an interesting weekend of celebrations of the ITF family.

The next three days involved sight seeing by everyone else present and visit to the venues of the National Olympics, where the delegates met with the top echelon of sports administration in Nigeria. The visit also included a climb to the peaks of the Olumo Rock, sight of so many battles between the British and Nigeria in the wars of colonialism and independence some centuries ago. After much action photography at the mountain peaks, approaching rains drove the reluctant tourist to the bottom of the mountain where delicious meals were served by the Sweet Sensation restaurant.
The last delegates left on Wednesday 5th of April, to Ireland after a day of deserved rest.

ITF Africa region would like to thank all the delegates from various countries who came to share with us their knowledge and make the international family of the ITF a reality. More than 10 million Nigerians heard the daily reports of the visits on radio and read news reports in the national dailies, signalling the permanent and glorious entry of the ITF into the national psyche of Nigeria and Africa. We especially that Mr. Michael and Ms Frances Tibollo who donated much to a school and bequeathed a broadband internet communication system for the Mount Lassalle College in Naka. We also owe much to Master Trevor Nicholls for his teaching and pro-active assistance to us in our development within the ITF. Mr. Don and Patricia Dalton are also our special friends and the window from which the world saw the potential in Africa. We thank Team Europe and all other delegates who had to scrape to find funds for the trip. Thank you all.

To Grandmaster Choi, Jung Hwa, we thank you for recognizing that in the 50 nation African Union, is the last frontier of the ITF and as you wrote to me We walk together

Written by: George Ashiru - 28th June 2006

Sorry, but you need to login to your ITF-Administration account to add feedback.

Login now, or if you are not a member then apply to join here

© International Taekwon-Do Federation Limited