Heavy rains did not deter huge crowds from gathering in Lagos, Nigeria's economic hub for the maiden edition of Chinese Kung Fu Festival on Saturday.
The festival was organized by StarTimes, a Chinese firm which offers a direct-to-home pay-TV service, in conjunction with United Bank for Africa (UBA) between April 14 and May 5, 2018.
Despite the heavy rain, fans of Kung fu had fun. It was a spectacle during the grand finale of the three week-long festival as Lagosians in their thousands, thronged the sprawling National Stadium in Surulere area of Lagos to watch the next Kung fu super star.
The Kung Fu Festival is a Chinese-Kung Fu-themed live show, which aims to spread Chinese Kung Fu and culture, deepen the cultural exchange between Nigeria and China and to showcase the next Kung Fu super star.
At least 14 local practitioners of the sport showcased their skills in front of other masters from China and Nigeria. Three winners were selected from the group.
Startimes, in a statement made available to Xinhua said the Kung Fu festival is aimed at bringing people together to showcase the art of Kung Fu and increase their skills in the Chinese combat art.
The company said winners will have an opportunity to star in a Kung Fu movie which will be shot in Nigeria later this year.
The winners will also have the opportunity to become movie stars in a sponsored Kung Fu Series which will be shot in China, fully sponsored by UBA.
Most of the participants said Kung Fu has come to stay in Nigeria, saying the awareness must cut across so that it can be a household sport at the grassroots across the country.
"Ever since I started Kung Fu, over 10 years, I have remained discipline in everything I do, especially during confrontation, It helps me to control myself," Emmanuel Kinglsey, popularly called gentle soul told the gathering.
Speaking to Xinhua, 7-year-old Hezekiah Ademola, said he was motivated doing Kung Fu via Chinese movies. He emphasized that the sport is a disciplined sport guided by strict principle, which encourages competitiveness and helps pupils to develop self-confidence.
"Myself and my brother attend Kung Fu school, where we were told that Kung Fu will make us focus, we are more stronger and have self believe," he added.
In an earlier interview, Jude Chijeoke, a sales manager with StarTimes, which has a presence in more than 20 countries in Africa, said the festival aims to make exceptional Kung Fu learning and training experiences more accessible to Nigerians.
Akeem Babalola, a member of the Stadium Independent Group (SIG), told Xinhua it was gratifying to witness the festival and feel all the cultural activities that Kung Fu carries.
Fatai Akindele, a startimes subscriber, who came to watch the show with her young daughter, told Xinhua that it was important for him to come to the stadium despite the bad weather.
"It was a good thing to see Tuface perform today, I really enjoined my time here tonight," he said.
Another highlight of the event was the musical performance by Nigerian music legend Tuface Idibia.