President of the Nigeria Rowing, Canoe and Sailing Federation (NRCSF) Real Admiral Festus Porbeni, Rtd on Friday commissioned Admiral Porbeni Canoe and Kayak Lane at the Jabi Boat Club in Abuja.
The Olympic standard Kayak Lane which covers a total distance of 1000meter is expected to host the canoeing events, starting later today in the ongoing 19th edition of the National Sports Festival.
Speaking after the commissioning and tour of the facilities the NRCSF president Real Admiral Festus Porbeni, rtd disclosed that the facilities had been put in place to foster grassroots development and to enable the country to host international competitions.
“First and foremost, there was a time Nigeria wanted to host commonwealth games and we found out that we had no lane for rowing and it annoyed me that we could not host the Games.”
“This sport is not for riverine areas alone, it’s for any place where there is a body of water, for training and for people to use it as much as possible, we have spoken to the owner of the club in Jabi Lake to open to athletes and those that want to train.
He further stated that the national sports festival will be used to selected athletes for Tokyo 2020 “We are already planning towards it and that’s why we will use this National Sports Festival to select our athletes for the All Africa Games and Tokyo 2020. Once the athletes are selected, they will be based in this town.”
“We put this up because when I found out that football has a stadium, boxing has a gym but rowing has nowhere and saw no reason why rowing would not feature in the Sports Festival, with the way things are going, governors are already calling to sponsor athletes.
There are lots of medals in rowing, about 14-15 medals. “ On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development Mr. Olusade Adesola who was represented by the Director of Grassroots Sports Development Dr, Ademola Are lauded the federation president for his efforts towards the sports development in the country adding that it would help the nation in producing podium finish athletes.
“This is in line with what President Muhammadu Buhari has been preaching, this is a change in the podium process for Nigeria in future sporting programs” “With the cooperation of the boat club management and the enthusiasm of Rear Adm. Festus Porbeni, Nigeria should look forward to more medals in rowing.”
According to him “the sports ministry will cooperate fully with the Rowing and yachting Federation to utilise maximally these Olympics lanes for podium success of the country. In the next two years, we could replicate this around the country”. He concluded