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Canoeing: Stakeholders harp on grassroots development of sport in Nigeria



Rowing, Canoeing and Sailing enthusiasts have advocated more development of the sport at the grassroots in the country.

A cross section of the enthusiasts who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the end of the 1st African Admiral Porbeni Canoe Race championships in Abuja, commended the organisers of the event.

The championships also served as an Olympics pre-qualifier event, ahead of the main qualifying tournament in November.

No fewer than 100 athletes from five African countries – Ghana, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe, Togo and host Nigeria – took part in the event which held at the Jabi Boat Club, Abuja.

They said there was a need to continue to organise more of such events in other parts of the country, to ensure the sport’s development at the grassroots.

President, International Canoe Federation (ICF) Thomas Konietzko expressed satisfaction at the quality of the event, adding that he was impressed with the number of talents available in the country.

“I think we have so many talented athletes here in Nigeria and this competition has proven that African organisers are able to organise Canoe competitions on a very professional level.

“We have to develop sports in Africa and as a first important step, we need more regional competitions here.

“The lack of equipment is also another important issue and we have had meaningful discussions with the Federation on how we can help to engage more kids in the sport.

“With time, more African athletes will pick interest in the sport and even go ahead to qualify and compete for medals at the Olympic games,” he said.

Joao Afonso, 1st Vice President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) said there was a need to create opportunities to discover and develop talents in the sport.

Afonso noted that more than 60 per cent of the African population were youths, adding that ANOCA was working hard to create conditions for them to practise and keep themselves busy with the sport.

“We have to change our African mentality because here we believe that the only sport existing is football.

“So, there is a need to change the narrative.

“We have a total of 42 sports at the Olympics, of which football is just one out of so many others,” he said.

Habu Gumel, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) said the federation had the capacity to develop the sport at the grassroots, especially with the vast waterways and talents that abound in the country.

“It is very important to develop the sport at the grassroots and we have a lot of waterways and talents scattered everywhere in the country.

“We are in discussion with both the ICF president as well as other international organisations to provide the federation with more equipment.

“We from the NOC will continue to give them all the necessary support so they can be able to excel,” he said.

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Emmanuel Ogalla said he was happy that the event was the first of its kind, adding that he would like to see more editions in the years ahead.

He also stressed the need to schedule the event in other parts of the country to bring it closer to the reach of all Nigerians, especially at the grassroots.

“We thank our retired Admiral Porbeni for keeping the flag flying for all these years. He has indeed been representing us well in the sport.

“Rowing, Canoeing and Sailing is a principal sport in the Nigerian Navy and that is why we have taken it as part of our own responsibilities.

“We also know that sport is very important for youth development as it keeps them busy and fit so they can contribute meaningfully to national development.

“The Nigerian Navy will continue to give all the necessary support that is required to keep the federation running,” he said.

Festus Porbeni, President of the Rowing, Canoeing and Sailing Federation, said the idea to organise the event came from his desire to ensure that the sport was developed at the grassroots.

“I found out that Nigeria was good in rowing theoretically but we were not practising it as much.

“So, I had to engage all stakeholders of the sport to ensure that we get fully involved in the sport.

“We now have boats here and manufacture them locally in Nigeria. It is a very good thing rather than importing from abroad,” he said.

He said the tournament helped the federation to discover new talents, adding that there were plans to expand as time went on.

“We want to ensure that we develop the sport at the grassroots, that’s why we organised it in Jos, Lagos, Imo and now Abuja.

“So, we are trying to project it as much as possible; anywhere there is a body of water in any part of the country we will explore the possibility of hosting the event there,” he said.


16th INAC: Indian instructor educates Nigerians on benefits of Yoga



The Indian High Commission in Nigeria on Friday in Abuja urged Nigerians to embrace Yoga as a means of exercise for their overall well-being..

Diptiranjan Mohanty, Teacher of Indian Culture, High Commission of India in Abuja, gave the advice during the 16th International Arts and Craft Expo (INAC).

Mohanty, who demonstrated the exercise , said that Yoga is an aspect of Indian culture known to reduce stress, anxiety as well as improve brain function.
He said that practicing Yoga also improves cardiovascular function, quality of sleep, bone health and reduces inflammation.

“Yoga is part of our culture, we want our Nigerian friends and people across the globe to practise it as a lifestyle.
“It improves body flexibility and balance.

“Yoga is known to harmonise the mind, body and soul, and it is a method to detoxify theo body and make a healthy mind and a happy soul,” he said.

Mohanty said that Nigerians who were interested in learning how to practice yoga could attend free classes for the execise at the Indian High Commission in Abuja.

According to him, this is held Monday to Friday, from 4.00p.m. to 7.00p.
He said that India was at the expo to showcase its arts and crafts like Saree fabric, Masala Chai (indian tea), locally prepared to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.

In the course of the expo, delegates from Taraba, Kaduna, Borno, Katsina, Ogun and Rivers states presented colourful dance performances.

Ogun and Rivers as well as Cuba presented cuisines peculiar to their culture, which delegates from other nations savoured.

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UEFA to raise payments for clubs not in European competition



Clubs that fail to qualify for UEFA’s competitions are set to receive a greater share of revenue from the European governing body from next season.
The arrangement is under a new distribution model announced on Wednesday by UEFA.
UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) signed a renewed working agreement until 2030 which will “bolster long-term stability and sustainable growth in European club football,” the governing body said in a statement.

The change will be effective from the start of the 2024-25 season, coinciding with a new format in UEFA’s Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

Under the new model for the 2024-2027 cycle, seven per cent of the revenue UEFA earns from the three competitions will be distributed to clubs not competing in them, up from four per cent.

The European Leagues Association, which represents professional soccer leagues in Europe, said the change would result in 308 million euros ($330.02 million) being shared among non-participating clubs, up from the current 175 million euros.

“Today’s announcement … will help all clubs across Europe to safeguard their competitiveness on and off the pitch while keeping investing in youth and talent development,” it said in a statement.

UEFA said further details of the new system would be unveiled at a later date.

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