Meet Josephine Esuku from Andoni, Rivers State who is in the Nigerian Taekwondo National team and has won 41 medals so far. - The Galaxy Times | No.1 News hub in Rivers State and Nigeria

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Meet Josephine Esuku from Andoni, Rivers State who is in the Nigerian Taekwondo National team and has won 41 medals so far.

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Josephine Esuku

Josephine Ineme Esuku is from Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, she is a member of the Nigerian Taekwondo National Team and she has won a total of forty-one medals in her career so far. In an exclusive interview with The Galaxy Times(TGT), Josephine revealed how she got into the game of Taekwondo and some of the challenges she is facing in the course of pursuing her dream in Taekwondo

TGT: May we meet you?

Josephine: I am Josephine Ineme Esuku. An indigene of Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

TGT: What do you do?

Josephine: I am a Taekwondo practitioner. I am in the Taekwondo National Team (both poomsae and kyorugi). I fight in the - 46kg female category.

TGT: Why did you choose sports?

Josephine: Haha! From the very first time I set eyes on Jean Claude Van Damme in a movie,  I knew immediately that I wanted to be a fighter and be super flexible. I just wanted to be like him. I was 12 years old at the time. I disturbed my mother to let me start but it didn't happen until I was 15 years old. I started with Karate and five years later, I started Taekwondo. So I chose to graduate from the University with a good result before fully delving into Taekwondo because our educational system is not very flexible. I could not combine being a full-time athlete with my studies. One had to be passive.

TGT: When did you go into Taekwondo?

Josephine: I started Taekwondo in 2006 at the University of Benin Sports Centre but I became more dedicated after completing my service to the nation (NYSC) in June 2014.

TGT: How many times have you represented Nigeria in competitions?

Josephine: I have represented Nigeria 5 times. The 2014 Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland where I won an individual gold medal and a team silver medal. In Doha, Qatar at the 2015 Qatar Opens where I won two gold medals, a bronze medal and I was awarded a trophy for the best Female Poomsae Athlete. In Brazzaville, Congo, at the 2015 All Africa Games, I did not win a medal. In Port Said, Egypt where I won a bronze medal at the 2016 African Taekwondo Championships. In Muju Korea at the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships and the 2017 Korean Opens in Chuncheon, Korea. I did not get a medal at the last two events.

TGT: Can you still remember how many medals you have won altogether.

Josephine: Yes I can remember. I have won a total of 41 medals. 23 gold medals, 8 silver medals and 10 bronze medals.

TGT: What are your greatest challenges in Taekwondo?

Josephine: My greatest challenge is sponsorship. There are many tournaments that I can attend in order to prepare for the big ones like the All Africa Games, the World Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the Olympics, etc which I do not attend due to lack of funds. Competing regularly can help me get more ranking points, experience, confidence, etc. I need to compete consistently on the international circuit. Most of my opponents compete very often and correct mistakes made in subsequent tournaments. They often have a wider array of techniques, tactics and strategies which I can also have if I have proper training and exposure. Competing regularly can also help me gain world ranking points that prove useful for favourable draws in subsequent international competitions. There is no shortcut to success, the relevant dues necessary to produce a World or Olympic champion must be paid.
There is also the issue of training and competition equipment, medical treatment (in case of an injury as it cannot be ruled out) as Taekwondo is a combat sport, training workshops, etc. Succinctly put, funding is the bedrock on which all these will stand firm.

TGT: Have you received enough support from Rivers State govt and Andoni LGA?

Josephine: No, I have not received enough support. I have however benefited from contracts given to Rivers State athletes for the National Sports Festival. I have been partly sponsored to two events by an indigene of Andoni LGA, Hon. Awaji-inombek Dagomie Abiante, and some good individuals (names withheld) across Nigeria for which I am so grateful but I believe more can be done because there is a lot of training to be done for which I need to be prepared, tournaments that will prepare me adequately for bigger events. I need sponsorship for that and I use this medium to call out on individuals, organisations and the government especially my State to please support this dream.

TGT: How can the govt of Rivers State and Andoni and individuals support what you do?

Josephine: The government of Rivers State, indigenes of Andoni LGA, and individuals within and outside Nigeria can support me by praying for me, also morally and financially.

TGT: Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Josephine: With adequate support, in the next few years I can win big titles for Nigeria, for Rivers State, for my family and for myself. I know I have the discipline to stick to my game plan and focus on my God-given skills and excel brilliantly. Thank you.

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