Gangtok, Sept. 20: A 15-member team from Sikkim left today for Visakhapatnam for the first India Open International Taekwondo Championship that will have 50 participating countries.
The group selected by the Sikkim Amateur Taekwondo Association will take part in the event that is to be held from September 22 to 24.
“The meet is being organised by the Indian Taekwondo Federation and is one of the six major tournaments sanctioned by the World Taekwondo Federation. Participants from 50 countries will be featuring in this event and it is a great opportunity for our players to represent the nation in such a prestigious tournament,” said chief coach of the Sikkim association, Trilok Subba.
The players have been selected from the state-level tournaments held earlier this month at the Paljor Stadium.
Subba said only black belts who have won medals at the national-level are allowed to participate in the international tournament at Visakhapatnam.
Subba admitted that winning medals at the event would not be an easy task.
“To win medals would be tough as there would be a large number of contestants in each weight group. We do expect some medals but it is not going to be easy. We have our hopes pinned on experienced international players like Sabina Sundas and Umesh Tamang,” he said.
Sabina had represented the country in the South Asian Games at Dhaka in 2009 while Umesh had participated in the World Taekwondo Championship in China in 2007.
Sabina, who will take part in the 46kg weight category, is confident about her performance.
“This is my second international tournament and I have prepared well with help from my coaches. I want to make my country and state proud by winning a medal,” she said.
The group is accompanied by coaches Sanjay Subba and Tamas Shetty along with team manager Bijoy Gurung.