The first ever Ghana Taekwondo Open championship ended successfully on Saturday at the Sports Hall of the Accra Sports Stadium with Niger and Ivory Coast dominating the male and female categories with high class displays.
At the end of friendly individual battles, Ivory Coast went home with five gold, one silver and two bronze winning the female division giant cup in addition whereas hosts Ghana placed fifth with two silver and two gold medals.
Niger won the men’s division with four gold, two silver and four bronze medals where Ghana placed fifth with one silver and one bronze medal.
In the overall medals table, Ivory Coast topped with seven gold, two bronze and seven bronze medals adding up to 16 medals. Niger who were second also collected five gold, three silver and eight bronze medals also adding up to 16 medals. The winning teams were awarded giant gold trophies from the organisers.
The Korean Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Woon Ki Leo congratulated all contestants and commended the Ghana Taekwondo Federation for hosting the first Ghana Open.
Captain Edward Abban of the xTDK Foundation who supported the international event which had 15 nations competing said in Taekwondo every participant is a winner and urged those who could not win medals to train harder to become champions. He noted that it is medals that encourage athletes to do better and hoped for better organization next year.
Hon. Robert Safo Mensah, Director General of the National Sports Authority was elated with the high level of performance and noted that organizing the championship in Ghana has been positive especially following the renovation of the Sports Hall by Epsilon Security and also learnt about mental alertness and discipline in sports.
He thanked all stakeholders who contributed to the success of the event including members of the Ghana Taekwondo Federation, World Taekwondo, African Taekwondo, the National Sports Authority (NSA), the xTDK, the sponsors, media and general public who graced the tournament.
Fred Otu Lartey, President of the Ghana Taekwodo Federation (GTF) commended the six Ghanaians who won three silver and three bronze medals and urged them to be extra committed and train harder for future competitions.
He also thanked the sponsors who responded to their call at the last moment, especially Epsilon Security who have put the Sports Hall in better shape.
In some of the exciting tough matches, Nigerians and Ivoriens proved their strength, stamina and kicking skills to triumph. Mercy Atiase of Ghana did well to give Ghana silver, as Jenny Quezada from the USA also performed creditable to also earn a silver medal.
Soh Won Kim from Washington DC in the USA said Ghana is a fantastic place and the people are very hospitable and friendly. He took a bronze medal in the -74kg category.
Samba Yan from Niger was one of the best performers. He said the tournament was keenly contested as all the athletes were well prepared and the standard was very high.
The sponsors included Blue Ocean Investments, Accra City Hotel, Big Tanko and the Korean Embassy in Ghana.
Credit: Sammy Heywood Okine