Nigeria Aquatics Federation begins grassroots talent hunt
Determined to bounce back to recognition and compete favourably in major international swimming championships, the Nigeria Aquatics Federation (NAF) has decided to scout for talents in schools and other youth.
Part of this strategy is the National Schools Swimming Championships scheduled for the Federation Capital Territory (FCT).
According to the Secretary General of the federation, Sani Mohammed, NAF in collaboration with Realworth Consult has introduced the All Schools National Swimming Competition with a view to drastically eliminating the medals drought that has bedeviled the country at major international competitions.
Mohammed told The Guardian that the All Schools National Swimming competition slated to splash off from June 21 to June 29 at the Swimming Complex of the Abuja National Stadium, would begin with one month of intensive training supervised by national coaches for schools nominated to participate.
Confirming that the planned All Schools National Swimming Competition (ASNSC) has the backing of the Department of Quality Assurance Secondary Education Board and Universal Basic Education Board, Mohammed stated that the pupils need encouragement to excel in the programme.
“Each school is required to register by filling the registration forms after receiving its nomination and it is two participants per category.
“In addition, participants from schools will undergo one month of intensive training managed by the National Coaching crew.”
He added that the ASNSC was borne out of the need to build a strong Nigerian Swimming team, both in the underage and junior categories, to meet the standard of the yearly international swimming competitions organised by the world ruling body, FINA and other swimming bodies, which seek to promote swimming as a sport at the grassroots level.
According to the NAF secretary, the federation is poised to produce the potential state team that will compete at the national level and search and form the potential state and national teams hidden in schools that will ultimately represent Nigeria at future international swimming competitions.
Calling on all schools and other bodies involved to encourage the children by ensuring their participation, he said NAF and Realworth Consult, a content development and management company and also an affiliate member of the federation designed the programme.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Realworth Consult, Abimbola Nicholas Ike is hopeful that with the ASNSC, “Nigeria would be great again in swimming.”
Lamenting that Nigeria is yet to tap into the opportunities in the sports industry like most developed countries, Ike said in the United States of America (USA), the sports industry is expected to hit $73.5b this year.
“Swimming is one of the few sports that generate multiple medals and we are still to key into it. It is not an over statement when we say that grassroots sports development is crucial to the development of the Nigerian sports industry and this is one of the key missions of the Nigerian Aquatics Federation,” she added.
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