22nd May, 2012
Athletes that took part in the just concluded Lagos State Boat Race for Clubs Championship has made a clarion call to Governor Babatunde Fashola to provide modern boats for them.
A one-day inter-clubs competition was organised by the Lagos State Rowing/Canoe and Yachting Association at the University of Lagos Waterfront last weekend. The tourney was facilitated by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Grassroots Sports Development to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports and the Sports Council.
Speaking on behalf of the athletes, captain of Navy Saling Club, Lilian Japheth, who won one silver and two bronze medals at the last All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique said that despite the fact that Nigeria has talented athletes who can compete favourably with their counterparts in the world, lack of modern boats has been the bane of the sport over the years.
“The inter-clubs tournament is a good idea to keep the athletes busy, but if we want to excel in our chosen career, the government needs to provide modern boats for us. The boats we are using are obsolete and some of us who have the opportunity to compete outside Nigeria used to find it difficult to meet with the challenges will face when we see modern boats.
“That is why on behalf of other athletes here today, I’m begging Governor Fashola to come to our aid in this regard,” said the Ondo Stae-born athlete, who narrowly missed Olympic Games because she could not raise funds to go to a qualifier in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Ojo Club won the one day Lagos State Open Boat Race for Clubs after garnering 59 points in six races that were competed for. Nigeria Navy Sailing Club came second with 57 points, while Agboyi/Ketu came third with 43 points. Majidun and Imoke were fourth and fifth with 27 and 23 points respectively. With 18 points, Ikorodu placed sixth, while Oriade came seventh with 11 points.
Chairman of the association, Rev. Pat Egbele described the inter-clubs tournament as the best thing to have happened in Lagos sports, adding that he was glad with the response and enthusiasm showed by the participating teams in the one day competition.
He disclosed that the prize money, which took half of the total budget for the championship, was given to the winners as monetary motivation as directed by Governor Fashola.
Chairman of the technical committee of the ongoing Ibile Games in Lagos, Babatunde Fatayi-Williams, who presented the winners with their trophies, said the plan of the state government is to support all the lesser sports to rise up to relevancy.