The 12th edition of the Nigerian Navy games ended in Lagos on Tuesday with the Eastern Naval Command emerging the overall winner of the championship which held at the ultra- modern naval sports complex, Navy town, Ojo.
The Command won a total of 167 medals, including 56 gold, 55 silver and 56 bronze to top the medal table in which a total of 1,029 personnel of the Nigerian Navy drawn from six commands participated.
The Naval Headquarters emerged second position in the competition with 51 gold, 38 silver and 46 bronze medals while the third position went to Central Naval Command with 128 medals.
The medal table further showed that Western Naval Command emerged fourth with 35 gold, 32 silver and 61 bronze, the Naval Training Command emerged fifth with 99 medals while the Logistics Naval Command came sixth with 15 medals.
The competition which featured 22 games had the Eastern Naval command emerged winner in the football match after it defeated the Central Naval Command in penalty shootout.
Other highlights of the competition include the 4/100 metres relay races won by the Nigeria Customs Service male and female teams respectively while the Nigerian Police Force won the ‘Tug of War’ game after it defeated the Nigerian Airforce team.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the event, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo said the competition facilitated team spirit, friendship and comraderie, which are part of objectives of the games.
He expressed confidence that the qualities displayed during the games would be sustained for national integration.
“It is not ambiguous that combat readiness requires physical fitness and mental alertness.
“Accordingly, as we draw curtains of the Nigerian Navy games 2022, I will like to encourage everyone to engage in one form of sport or the other as the resultant effects are enormous, including effective discharge of our constitutional mandate,” he said.
The CNS commended all that participated in the games particularly those who won medals, urging them to sustain and win more medals as he encouraged those that did not win to brace up for subsequent games.
“I congratulate those who participated, particularly those who won medals. It is one thing to win medals, and it is another to hold on to the medals won. I will therefore encourage you to hold on to these medals as well as improve on winning more medals in subsequent competitions and games.
” For those who did not win, there are always opportunities to prove yourselves, I congratulate you all,” he said.
Gambo added that the games have further positioned the Nigerian Navy towards ameliorating security challenges just as he reaffirmed the Navy’s resolve to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment for socio- economic activities to thrive.
In his remarks, the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magahi (Rtd.), who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, commended the Nigerian Navy for construction of the sports complex and organising the games, saying it is a clear manifestation of the importance the Navy ascribes to physical and mental alertness of its personnel.
He said, “These are key considerations required by personnel of the Armed Forces to overcome challenges and increasing demands in the theatre of operations.”
“The desire by the Nigerian Navy to commit resources toward ensuring personnel requisite standards of mental and physical wellbeing is very commendable.”
Magashi also commended the Navy for its contributions toward securing the maritime domain for the benefit of Nigerians and the economic prosperity of the nation.
“The Navy has continued to play significant roles in internal security operations in support of sister services and other security and law enforcement agencies towards addressing current insecurity in various parts of the country.
“The task of providing security both within the maritime domain and on land is without doubt enormous that requires commensurate appropriation,” he said.
He reassured that the Ministry of Defence will sustain efforts to support the Navy especially as the nation prepares for the forthcoming General elections.
In his goodwill message, the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, said that a great number of sporting talents in Nigeria came from the Armed Forces including the Navy, Police, Army and the Air Force.
He called on the other Forces to emulate the Nigerian Navy urging the navy to continue in its path of providing sports as a platform for discovering talents and instilling discipline.
“I congratulate all the winners and for all the losers, you are also winners because in sports, in the spirit of sportsmanship; we are all winners,” the minister said.
The closing ceremony of the games was heralded by cultural display and colourful parade by the contingents of the six participating naval commands and other field events.
The 12th Nigerian Navy Games, which held from 8th -13th September, 2022 was the first on the navy’s ultra-modern sports facility in Lagos.