By Oladipupo Mojeed
Santos Akhilele recorded a loss against Guatemalan opponent on Monday to join two other Nigerians on the sidelines of the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships holding in Muju, South Korea.
Fighting in the men’s -68 kg category of the championships, Akhilele lost 14-16 to Andres Zelaya of Guatemala in a Round of 64 bout.
Earlier in the day, in a round of 128 bout, Akhilele had beaten Phouthasone Thammavong of Lao People’s Democratic Republic 22-11 to give his team hopes.
But he failed to advance after he could not withstand Zelaya’s onslaught in a fight which was very close.
His loss dimmed the Nigerian team’s chances of winning medals following two earlier losses by two of their athletes.
On Sunday, Segun Olushola was disqualified against Kairat Sarymsakov of Kazakhstan in a Round of 64 fight in the men’s -74 kg category.
Also, the Nigerian team had on Saturday seen Josephine Esuku crashing out, after losing 6-15 to Safiye Polat of Azerbaijan in the women’s -46 kg category.
It is hoped that Nigerian athletes will return to winning ways on Tuesday when Chinazum Nwosu takes on Mary Maina of Kenya.
She will be fighting in the women’s -53kg round of 64.
Also, Isah Adamu will face Tyler Miyagishima of the U.S. in the men’s -58kg round of 64.
Uzoamaka Otuadinma will complete the Nigerian team’s line-up of battles when she faces Carlote Munave of Swaziland in the women’s +73 category round of 64.
Two other Nigerians who are yet to taste action in the championships are Samson Edwin in the men’s -63 kg category, and Paul Kolade in the men’s -80 kg category.