Despite coming from a humble background, Bright Kolade is writing his name in the Nigerian Taekwondo books of history.
Kolade has officially won three consecutive gold medals at the National Sports Festival from Abuja 2018, Edo 2020 and Delta 2022.
Kolade who hails from Ogidi in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi state is the last born of 13 children in the family of Pa Kolade Omojabera. The Kogi born athlete shared how he left the village for Kaduna state, met with individuals that turn his life around.
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Aclsports: How did you begin your career as a Taekwondo athlete?
Kolade: A man called Coach Jibrin D. Yero of Nuhu bamalli Polytechnic in Zaria saw me playing basketball in 2005 and he was the one that initiated me. He convinced me to pick interest in Taekwondo and thank God for my life today; ever since Coach Yero gave me all he had, I am a great product of his tutelage.
Aclsports: How did you feel winning your third National Sports Festival gold medal in Delta State?
Kolade: I felt excited winning my third consecutive gold medal at the National Sports Festival. Not every athlete has the chance of winning but hardwork, dedication and resilience have got me going throughout these years. It means a lot to me and those that look up to me as role models.
Aclsports: What have been the challenges since you began Taekwondo?
Kolade: The biggest challenge I have since I became an elite athlete is funding. I have missed crucial International Championships that would have made me qualify for both World Championships and Olympics in the past. I am currently looking for potential sponsors who can assist me because I should be in Egypt for the African Senior Taekwondo Championship next February and 30 points awaits me if I attend.
I believe if properly funded, I can make it to the Paris 2024 Olympic. Nigeria athletes have what it takes to be at every Olympic but they have to struggle for themselves. The Federation always passes through a lot before the athletes attend major qualifiers and get zero attention from the Government.
Aclsports: Two African Games and no medals; do you think you can break the Jinx at the 2023 African Games in Ghana?
Kolade: I have confidence in myself that I can deliver a medal for Nigeria at the 2023 African Games in Ghana with the right exposure. I am ready to give it all because this should be my last African Games; I will continue to emphasise on sponsorship because I have to attend five International Championships before the 2023 African Games in Ghana.
Aclsports: What made you leave your home town in Kogi state and where did you go afterwards?
Kolade: I left Kogi state through my uncle (Mr. Okaiyeto) to Kaduna State in 1994 where he promised to send me to school from primary to university. After completion of my Senior Secondary School, he sent me back to Ogidi in 2002. After spending a week in the village, my mother struggled to get 300 naira for me which I used as transportation back to Kaduna state where I started hustling by myself and the rest is history today. Two years later, l lost my father on 26th February, 2004 before my mother joined him exactly on 26th February, 2006.
Aclsports: How has Kebbi state contributed to your development?
Kolade: The Kebbi Government has not contributed to my training and development but God has been using Alhaji Abdullahi Saidu before he became the President of Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF). He meets all my needs, ready to support in all areas and has been involved in many local and international exposures since 2016. The funniest thing is that I have been in contact with him before I got posted to Kebbi state for my National Youth Service Corp (NYSC).
Aclsports: If you have your way, what message do you have for Kogi state Government.
Kolade: I wish to come home to my state (Kogi) to share the benefits of engaging in a martial arts based sport to improve their morals in the society and also to become Olympia champions. I want to build world and Olympic champions from Kogi state.
I have been privileged to visit other developed nations and top players in this art; I have studied and discovered that if we have similar facilities in Kogi state, we will not just stand out in Nigeria, but conquer the world
Currently I am a World Taekwondo Certified Coach (level 1) and a NTF certified referee going for my international referee soon God’s willing.
Over the years, I have diligently worked hard in developing myself in my field of sport and I’ve impacted so many different areas. I believe in the future and it starts from giving back to society. I wish to build the future generations through the knowledge I haven’t acquired over the years
Aclsports: What are the other things you are doing for society?
Kolade: I have trained and inspired hundreds of athletes across the country many of which are national champions now.I coached in kebbi taekwondo academy for almost a decade and made champions from that academy
I co organised the fearless strike camp which produced 7 out of 7 national sports festival medallists that participated in the camp. I created a platform called PbkNation which educates and inspires athletes as well as keeping them informed.
I have captained and prepared athletes for the Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic taekwondo team winning first overall in Taekwondo at Polytechnic Games in 2017 and 2019.
Aclsports: Thank you for your time
Kolade: You are welcome and thank you for the opportunity to share my story in order to inspire others.