The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo on Monday said no fewer than 1,820 athletes and officials would be participating in the 12th edition of the Nigerian Navy (NN) games scheduled to take place in Lagos from September 8 to 13.
Speaking at a press briefing ahead of the event at the Western Naval Command, Apapa, Gambo said the games, which would be held at the Nigerian Navy Sports Complex and the Teslim Balogun stadium as well as other venues in Lagos would feature 22 events.
Represented by the Chief of Administration, Navy Headquarters, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, Gambo said the athletes drawn from six commands of the Navy including the Naval Headquarters Command, the Western Naval Command, the Eastern Naval Command, the Logistics Command, the Naval Training Command and the Central Naval Command will participate in the games.
The CNS said the Navy Sports Complex, equipped with state- of- the-art equipment to serve as the hub of producing sports talents for the Nigerian Navy and the nation will also be commissioned during the event.
He said, “The ultra-modern sports complex is equipped with an indoor sports hall, a gymnasium and swimming pool. The complex also has a football pitch with a standard pavilion, outdoor courts for handball, volleyball and basketball as well as tracks for athletics.
“Sports and physical training have always been a bedrock of the Nigerian Navy’s daily mental and physical routine for service ashore and at sea.
“It is for this reason and the benefits derived from participation in sports that the Nigerian Navy pays particular attention to daily routine and programmed periodic sports engagements like the NN Games.
“The organization of sports such as the Nigerian Navy Games also avails the opportunity to identify and develop talents that will proudly represent our nation in national and international competitions in future.”
Gambo noted that in addition to the biennial Navy games, the force usually organizes specific sporting events between and within its Commands all year round to keep its athletes and personnel in good physical and mental condition.
“It will also interest the public to know that the Nigerian Navy participates in National Sports Federations organized sporting events by releasing its athletes to participate representing various states.
“The Nigerian Navy has also consistently, over the years, sponsored competitions at the national level around the country such as the CNS National Open Swimming Championship and the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria organized CNS U-17 Football Championship.
“The Nigerian Navy also recently established its polo team which within 7 months won trophies at the Nigerian Navy 66th Anniversary polo tournament and the TY Danjuma Cup, both in Port Harcourt. The team also came second at the Lagos International polo tournament.
“The Nigerian Navy’s Admiralty Football Club is presently placed second in the nationwide League One football competition in Lagos State.
“Additionally, the Nigerian Navy’s female volleyball team, CNS Spikers, had the honour of representing the nation at the last African Women Volleyball Championship which was held in Tunisia in May this year. The team came 10th out of 18 teams; a promising result, one would say, for a team that just joined the local league back at home. Presently, the male and female teams are topping their leagues,” he said.
Noting that the Nigerian Navy’s active involvement in sports is not a one-off thing but has a history, Gambo assured of the force’s commitment to continue to contribute its bit to the development of sports in the country.
“It would be recalled that the first Nigerian Olympic medal (Bronze) was won by Nojim Maiyegun, a Nigerian Navy personnel. WCPOPTI Gilbert participated in the 1964 Olympic and 2nd All African Games as a member of the Nigerian boxing team and the late Commander Bellah (a hurdler) was a member of the Nigerian contingent to the Melbourne Commonwealth Games _ in Australia.
“Thus, Nigerian Navy athletes have consistently been participating in national and international sporting activities,” he said.