5th FOC West Boat Race: Navy chief tasks officers, men on aquatic skills
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Yakubu Wambai has charged junior officers and ratings to take advantage of the Navy Sailing Club to improve their aquatic skills and make them better sailors.
Admiral Wambai was speaking at the 5th FOC West Boat Race, which was held on the waterfront of the Navy Sailing Club in Ojo over the weekend in his honour.
While promising to support the Navy Sailing Club in organising more boat races for the development of aquatic sports in the country, he said there is a need to groom younger athletes.
Admiral Wambai, who was represented by the Command Admin Officer, Commodore Edem Duke, said he also wants to see more active participation by junior officers and men as members of the Navy Sailing Club.
“This will serve as a platform to acquaint officers with swimming and other aquatic activities to improve their overall efficiency as soldiers and sports representatives during competitions.
“So, I implore the executive to have more patronage of junior officers now in the Navy Sailing Club so that they can replace the veterans among us in future events.
“I promise to provide necessary support whenever the need arises, bearing in mind that the FOC Boat Race is an annual event for sailors to showcase their water sports skills.”
Wambai explained that the importance of sporting activities, within the Nigerian Navy is key, noting that sports is a unifying factor and that the importance of sports cannot be overemphasised in the development and conditioning of the mind and body.
He called on the club to build more facilities and bring more innovation to their activities in subsequent editions.
“Furthermore, I advise the new executive to be diligent, transparent, and prudent in managing the available resources at their disposal while expecting maximum cooperation from the members during their one year tenure.
Expressing his satisfaction on the race, he stated that: “The boat race was conducted according to laid down rules and I commend all the athletes that participated for the safety protocol which was observed.”
POPTI Orji and Citizen Tunde Giwa-Daramola emerged as the overall winners of the race as they finished first place in the GP14 event ahead of Amefuleh Chidoziem/Benedicta Japhet in second place and Ashom Luka/SLt. Gambo in third place.
Prisca Origbo, Popti Pataka, and Joy Orji were winners in the 500-metre kayak race for women, while AB Aliyu Yakubu finished in first place in the 500-metre kayak race for men. He was closely followed by SLT Adefamoye and PO Menekpo in second and third places, respectively.
Similarly, Jeffery Japhet, Jason Japhet, and Raphael Menekpo came first, second, and third, respectively, in the 200-metre kayak event for boys, while Benedicta Japhet, Nancy Menekpo, and Amarachi Ukeji came first, second, and third, respectively, in the 200-metre kayak event for girls.
Earlier in his address, the Club Commodore of the Navy Sailing Club, Simon Mayaki, said that the main objective of the competition is to develop a sailing culture and seafaring skills among members.
Mayaki, however, solicited more support to equip the club and athletes in order for the sport to continue to grow in the country.
“Our boats and sails are outdated, and we need new platforms and outboard engines to power our boats.
“In the last two years, the subvention from Navy Headquarters that was given as assistance for the daily running of the club has stopped. Please, if this subvention can be reactivated, it will go a long way at sustaining the development which the club has achieved so far,” he said.
Also, the foundation Club Commodore, Rear Admiral Andrew Okoja (retired), said he is happy with the competition but noted that there was room for more improvements.
According to him, “The boat clubs are the social face of the maritime and Nigerian maritime is one of the largest in terms of cargo in Africa.
“So, we will like to grow the competition to involve participants from other sailing clubs to further give more publicity to water sports.”