18 years after, National Stadium swimming pool comes alive
African CANA Zone Two Junior Championship holds in Lagos
After 18 years of fruitless attempts by the Federal Government to fix the swimming pool of the National Stadium in Lagos, a green light has finally appeared at the end of the tunnel.
Beginning from October 27, junior swimmers from countries in West and Central Africa will converge on the stadium for the second edition of the African CANA Zone Two Junior Championship. The countries include Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Togo, Guinea, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Benin, Niger and Equatorial Guinea. The organisers are also expecting The Gambia, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville and Mali.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday, the President of Nigeria Aquatic Federation (NAF), Babatunde Fatayi-Williams said every arrangement needed to host a befitting championship had been put in place.
“The first edition of the championship took place in Akure, Ondo State in 2012, solely sponsored by Ondo State government. This time, the Federal Government is sponsoring this championship and we thank the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung for his effort in making sure the swimming pool came back to life after 18 years. This facility remains one of the best in the country and it will be a pride for our young swimmers to make use of it. We also thank O’Jez Entertainment for its strong support for aquatic sports and swimming in Nigeria,” Williams said.
The NAF boss stated that October 25 and 26 had been set aside for arrival of the participating countries, while the competition will hold from October 27 to 29. Williams added that the championship would be in two age categories.
“The first group is for 13/14 years (swimmers born in 2004 and 2003), while the second group is for the 15/16 years (swimmers born in 2002 and 2001). Those competing in the 13/14 years will take part in 20 individual events and two relay races, while the 15/16 years will battle in 24 individual events and two relay races. There will also be a combined G1/G2, where the swimmers will do two relay races,” Williams stated.
Also speaking yesterday, vice president of NAF, Rear Admiral Ba Egbedina, as well as a board member, owner of O’jez Chinese Restaurant, Joseph Odobeatu, said it was a dream come true for the swimming pool of the National Stadium in Lagos to be alive again.
“I am very sure our young swimmers will grab this golden opportunity to become world beaters in swimming. I must thank the Sports Minister (Dalung) for his determination in bringing this swimming pool back to life,” Odobeatu stated.
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