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Zainab Saleh Tournament to Feature 200 Competing Athletes

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Over 200 karatekas will be participating in the 9th edition of the Zainab Saleh International Female Karate Championship, set to take place from November 2nd to 5th at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Zainab Saleh, the founder, made this announcement during a press conference held at the Sports Bar of the Teslim Balogun stadium.

“We have received registrations from more than 200 athletes for the competition, which will commence on Friday, November 3rd. The tournament will kick off with the referees course and examination on Thursday, November 2nd, as is the standard for all African and World tournaments,” Saleh said.

The gold, silver, and two bronze medallists in the Kata and Kumitae categories across various weight classes including senior, junior, cadet, U-14, and U-12 (10-11) will receive prizes at the conclusion of the competition on Saturday, November 4.

Saleh, who is also a chairperson of the Lagos State Karate Association, believes that the tournament has significantly contributed to the growth of karate in Nigeria.

“This championship has undeniably played a crucial role in the development of women’s karate in Nigeria. Several of our female athletes have been selected for Nigeria’s National Team through this event. Additionally, one of the championship’s long-time participants from Benin Republic has competed at the World level,” she said.

“I am proud to witness the continuous improvement in the technical skills of our athletes with each passing year of this event. Congratulations to all the girls who have made it thus far. I hope that corporate sponsors will come forward and support this tournament on an annual basis. It has grown to a point where one person cannot manage it alone,” Saleh added.

Except for 2020 when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the championship has been held every year since 2014. It serves the purpose of creating awareness about the benefits of karate for young girls.

“I want to increase the awareness of what Karate entails and the advantages it offers, especially for our women and girls. The more participants we have, the larger the talent pool for selecting athletes to represent Nigeria at international events. I am pleased to announce that we will have more teams from neighboring countries participating as well.

“There has already been a participant who competed in the World Karate Championships, and I am confident that we can produce athletes who will qualify for the Olympic Games,” Saleh expressed.

She encouraged athletes to train diligently and showcase their talent whenever they get the opportunity.

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