Muhammed Sani, Secretary-General, Nigeria Aquatics Federation, says the country is set to pick the overall prize in swimming at the 2018 Africa Youth Games (AYG) in Algeria due to the quality of athletes’ preparing.
Mr Sani made the assertion on Saturday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Abuja.
According to him, the level of preparations for the tournament speaks volume.
“Intense training in camp has been on for more than 50 days, while athletes have been training seriously on modern techniques and skills.
“Our athletes have been doing their personal bests in the camp, training is as good as going to Algeria to win everything,” he said.
The federation’s scribe disclosed why the preparation was unique.
“Previously, funds used to be the impediments but now the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Sports has been very supportive in preparing for the Games in Algeria.
“The impact could be felt in our athletes, they have been doing their Personal Bests (PB) in the camp, we are set for winning this time around,” he said.
Mr Sani said that eight out of 10 athletes in camp would depart for Algeria on Sunday for the third edition of the AYG, coming up from July 18 to July 28.
Similarly, Confident Isobo, Captain of the national U-19 swimming team that will represent the country in Algeria agreed with Sani.
“The training is okay, our coaches are really trying, swimming is a multi-medal winning sport, coaches have been trying hard to ensure each of us return with medals from the competition.
“We really love the training, it will help us to win medals in Algeria.
“Nigeria took 13 sports in the last edition and came third. We are now going with at least 23 sports, we hope to come first when swimming is included,” he said.
Also, Reuben Amos, Coach of the swimming team, gave credence to others’ claims.
“We have been training since May without any challenge. The boys and girls have been training well. We will definitely do better than the previous edition.” he said.
Veronica Ndakwe, Assistant Coach of the team said, “We pray for God’s support as every other thing that can assure our victory has been satisfied.”
NAN reports that Ademola Are, Director, Grassroots Sports Development, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, recently recently said the Federal Government had been supporting sports with intervention funds to attain development.
NAN also reports that Nigeria came third in the last edition of AYG held in Gaborone, Bostwana, winning 19 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals.
Egypt won the event winning 44 gold, 16 silver and 20 bronze medals, followed by South Africa with 41 gold, 25 silver and 27 bronze medals.
Swimming competition offers over 100 medals in an international competition.