The Nigeria Rowing, Canoe and Sailing Federation (NRCSF) has described the just concluded 9th Confederation of Africa Canoe Sprint Championship/Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification held at the Jabi Lake Abuja as a huge success.
The federation in a statement said despite the challenges encountered, the fact that 14 out 18 countries that registered for the championship competed with Nigeria signposts the success of the event and remains the best CAC Canoe Sprint Championship, saying top rated African canoe nations -Tunisia, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Mozambique, Angola, Ghana, São Tomé & Principe, Seychelles, Senegal and host Nigeria presented canoeists in C1 200m Women, C2 500m Women, C1 1000m Men , C2 500m Men, K1 1000m Men, K2 500m Men, K1 500m Women and K2 500m.
NRCSF, who were apparently reacting to negative publication in some quarters on events heralding the final day of the championship, said the heavy downpour a day and early hours of Sunday’s final washed off all structures set up for a befitting final.
“The attention of the Federation was drawn to the negative publication in some quarters on events heralding the final day of the CAC Africa Canoe Sprint Championship/Continental Qualifiers for Olympic Games. It should be stated that the heavy downpour on Saturday,
November 25 and early hours of Sunday November 26, washed off all structures set up for a befitting final. Within six hours of concerted efforts, the stage was set again. This was not devoid of some damages which could not be reversed in days. Should we have stopped the final and suffer sanctions from the international body who had its officials on ground or manage the situation at hand?
“It is rather unfortunate that those who concentrated energy on publishing flashes of uncontrollable circumstances at the championship could have done better rather than a bias in reportage. In a day and age when anybody with a smartphone can easily make a video of anything, it is apt that professionalism should prevail.
“We call on those who have attempted to discredit the voluntary commitment to develop Rowing and Canoe in Nigeria to join hands and make the sport better,” NRCSF said.
NRCSF added that the hosting rights for the championship was awarded to Nigeria in July after International Canoe Federation President Thomas Konietzko expressed satisfaction with the facilities and organisation of Admiral Porbeni Africa Boat Championship in which team Nigeria emerged overall champions.
The federation said the hosting of the championship afforded Nigeria the opportunity to secure global spots and save cost. “This afforded the opportunity to use familiar terrain to secure global spots. Oftentimes, raising funds to prepare athletes for international qualifying events has never been an easy task. The hosting rights not only helped Nigeria save cost but also improve on its organisation and development of the sport’s facilities.”
According to NRCSF president, Admiral Festus Porbeni, he will not be deterred by the criticism, but more determined to grow the game until Nigeria becomes a force to reckon with globally.
“As long as I live, even when I’m gone, as I have instructed my estate managers, this sport will continue to grow until Nigeria becomes a global force. World Championships and Olympic medals will become our birth rights in this sport. It will surely happen but before then, let all hands be on deck.”