FIGHT FOR CHANGE

Police host taekwondo, judo event in campaign against drug abuse

The team's taekwondo coach Stephen Odhiambo says the initiative will move to other counties after a tour of Waithaka, Utawala and Ofafa Jericho sub-counties in Nairobi.

In Summary

•Close to 15 teams have thus far confirmed participation for the three-day event, which commences Thursday through to Saturday

•Some of the teams who have registered for the competition come from afar as Burundi and Rwanda

•The championship is an opportunity for athletes to sharpen themselves ahead of February's  World Taekwondo Championship in Wuxi, China

Thomas Edungaa (R) and Moses Lukalo in past taekwondo tournament.
Thomas Edungaa (R) and Moses Lukalo in past taekwondo tournament.
Image: FILE

It will be an action-packed weekend at the General Service Unit Training School as various taekwondo and judo athletes converge for the Nairobi Governor's Championship. 

Kenya Police's taekwondo team coach Stephen Odhiambo, said the tournament — organised by the security agency and Nairobi governor Anne Kananu — seeks to sensitise youth on the dangers of drug abuse. 

"We decided on this tournament because we have realised that drug abuse is an increasing problem among the youth. We also want to sensitise residents on the importance of community policing and this championship provides us with a great opportunity to do that," Odhiambo said. 

He added: "This is an initiative that we hope to extend to other parts of the country. First, after this weekend, we will shift focus to different sub-counties in Nairobi, including Waithaka, Utawala and Ofafa Jericho."

Odhiambo revealed that close to 15 teams have thus far confirmed participation for the three-day event, which commences Thursday through to Saturday. 

Some of the teams who have registered for the competition come from afar as Burundi and Rwanda. 

"In Nairobi, we already have clubs, such as Waithaka and KDF coming to compete, in addition to the police. We are expect around three teams from the Coast and another one from Kisumu," he said. 

He added that there will be prize money and trophies for the best performers at the tournament. 

Furthermore, Odhiambo sees it as an opportunity for athletes to sharpen themselves ahead of February's  World Taekwondo Championship in Wuxi, China. 

The global event was scheduled for this year but was postponed at the request of the Chinese government due to stringent coronavirus measures in the Wuxi region, which would have required participants to quarantine for weeks. 

"We want to use this series of tournaments to prepare ourselves for the World Championships, which is not that far away. This tournament provides players with a great chance to sharpen themselves and hopefully come up with a strong team from Nairobi," he said. 

Odhiambo bemoaned the current state of the sport in the country and noted that many more taekwondo athletes can make it to the international stage if only the wrangles bedevilling it are resolved.