By Ijeoma Okigbo
Tony Asuquo, coach and Founder of Tony International Gymnastics Club (TIG), says the club was training gymnasts, not just to improve them alone but to coach others.
Asuquo said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, on the side-lines of the just concluded 13th TIG Level System Gymnastics competition in Abuja.
Asuquo, who is Nigeria’s first certified International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) coach, said over 200 gymnasts participated in the event.
“For over 13 years, we have contributed to the growth of gymnastics in the country. We have been able to train coaches from the streets and they are now professional coaches.
“Our focus is not just to teach gymnastics but to also show people how to train gymnastics coaches.
“This way, the game can improve especially at the grassroots because we will have more coaches training gymnasts.
“One of our success stories is having one of our veteran gymnasts and coach, Emeka Ekezie, now employed in Australia. We also have Mindy Akinola now in Saudi Arabia.
“Also, Seun Adeoye, is now coaching a club in South Africa as well as Jessica Frank, who is now in Dubai.
“This is just a testament of how far we have gone and how well we keep improving the talents of our gymnasts,” Asuquo said.
He said over 200 gymnasts, including 50 schools and 80 clubs across the country, featured in the tournament on Friday and Saturday.
“This 13th edition is one of the biggest we have had so far
“In TIG, we use three different level systems which are internationally recognised to train our gymnasts.
“We use the Australian system, South African system and the American System. We try to tap from different countries and add to our Nigerian level system.
“Earlier, we started with level one and two but now we have reached level 10 and the young Olympic level. I am so proud of how far we have come especially seeing the efforts of the kids,” Asuquo added.
He said that no fewer than 15 of the gymnasts in his club would feature for various states at the upcoming National Sports Festival (NSF) in Asaba. (NAN)