Buhari’s ‘Big Headache’ In Swimming…
Before Team Nigeria’s departure for Congo Brazzaville for the 2015 African Games, President Muhammadu Buhari knew in advance what was going to happen.
Since the commencement of the All African Games in 1973, Nigeria had been battling to beat Egypt to the top of the medals table but to no avail.
Though, Buhari may not have represented Nigeria at any sporting event in his youth days, he knows the weak point militating against the nation’s sports, particularly in the African Games. To him, one major area to improve upon for Team Nigeria to occupy the driver’s seat is swimming.
In the build up to the 2015 African Games in Congo, the Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Al-Hassan Yakmut, decided to brief Buhari at the State House on level of preparedness and their plan to wrestle the No 1 position from Egypt.
Like a leader with foresight, Buhari knew that grabbing the No 1 position in Congo was a mission impossible.
Rather, the President challenged the NSC to work towards improving the country’s fortunes, particularly in swimming, so as to brighten Nigeria’s chances of topping the medals table at 2019 African Games.
Yakmut and his visiting team left the Villa assuring Buhari that everything would be done to ‘capture’ swimming before the 2019 Games. Team Nigeria eventually finished second behind Egypt in Congo due to the large number of medals won by the Pharaohs in swimming.
As usual, the contingent has since returned and everybody is ‘waiting’ for 2019 to come before remembering what Mr. President said concerning swimming.
But the Swimming Section of Ikoyi Club 1938 will not wait for such a long period before heeding the President’s call.
In realization of the impact of sports in the life young people, especially school children, members of the swimming section of Ikoyi Club staged a one-day swimming competition last weekend for school children in Lagos State, the first of its kind in the state.
Speaking with The Guardian, chairman of Swimming Section, Ikoyi Club 1938, Segun Adekoya, said the competition was a way of developing young swimmers for the future.
“We realized that the swimming sport calendar in the Lagos State is not as robust as it should be,” Adekoya said. “We decided to organize this first interschool swimming gala, which is sponsored by Eco bank, Heritage bank, Diamond bank and GTbank for school children. It will enable us catch swimmers at a young age and create a sustainable platform for the development of swimming in Lagos.
“Ikoyi Club has always been in the forefront of these ideals because we have produced swimmers for Lagos State and indeed Nigeria at past sporting events such as the National Sports Festival, All African Games and even the Olympic Games.
“The swimming section itself has a standing squad that participates both as team and individual swimmers in local and international competitions, including the annual Swimfest in Germany.
“Our aim is to address the decline in swimming and we call on other stakeholders to partner with Ikoyi Club in this initiative,” Adekoya said.
It was all thrill and glamour, as the children entertained their parents and guest in different categories of swimming, ranging from the frog-style-kick commonly known as breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke and the butterfly.
At the end of the one-day competition, Chukwudi Kanu (7-8 yr category) of St. Saviours School, Ebute Metta, topped in the male category with 25 points, beating Obehi Emefo (9-10 yr) of St. Saviours, Ikoyi, (25 points) and Adewole Adekoya of Grange School (11-12 yr) with 23 points, to the second and third place respectively.
In the female category, Imam Adama (7-8 yr category) of Corona School gathered 30 points to come top ahead of
Maria Penner (9-10 yr) of Lagoon School (30 points) and Feechi Odinkalu (11-12 yr) of British International School (30 points).
St. Saviours School, Ikoyi, topped the medals table with 194 points with 3 gold, 7 silver and 6 bronze in individual event and 3 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze in the relay.
Corona School was second with 116 points 5 gold, 3 silver 3 bronze in individual and 1 silver and 2 bronze in the relay.
Children International School (CIS) was third with 104 points 1 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze in individual and 2 gold 1 silver 2 bronze in the relay.
St Saviours School, Ebute Metta, followed with 70 points 3 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze in Individual event and 1 silver in the relay, just as Meadowhall School gathered 36 points 1 silver and 1 bronze in Individual and 1 gold and 1 silver in the relay.
Lagos Preparatory School (35 points), Lagoon School (30 points), Grange (16 points) and Greensprings (2 points) followed in that order.
In the secondary school section, Grange came top with 99 points 3 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze in Individual and 2 gold in the relay, just as Greensprings came second with 84 points 1 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze in Individual event and
2 gold and 1 silver in the relay. British International (65 points), Children International School (57 points),
Atlantic Hall (42 points), Whitesands (23 points), Lagoon (12 points) and Lagos Preparatory School (one point) followed in that order.