Athletes will begin competing in taekwondo event at the National Sports Festival on Saturday.

According to taekwondo coordinator, Chika Chukwumerije, aside athletics, taekwondo is the next sport with the highest number of athletes competing at the 19th National Sports Festival.

“I looked at the registrations, I discovered that it is only athletics that has more entries than taekwondo, and that is to show you how popular it has been over the past three years because the federation has been very active in promoting the sport in every state.” He told Bounce Sports in Abuja.

“30 states entered athletes in the male category, while in the female category, 28 states enter athletes.

“For the first time, we are doing a round robin, its going to be a very competitive affair.

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The son of Nigerian politician Uche Chukwumerije, Chika first drew attention in 2003 during the qualifiers for the 2003 All-Africa Games, where he eventually won a bronze medal in the Heavyweight Male category.

He qualified for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, but lost his first bout to Pascal Gentil, the eventual bronze medal winner. Nevertheless, after a period of intensive training that was funded by his father, he became one of Nigeria's best chances for a medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

He won a gold medal at the 2007 All-Africa Games in the +80 kg class and qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games soon after. Although he lost to eventual silver-medal winner Alexandros Nikolaidis in the semifinals of the +80kg event, he was entered into the repechage round of the tournament.

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