CANA Zone II Swimming Tournament: FINA bails out Nigeria — NAF President

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Poland Penazimor, one of Nigeria’s national swimming coaches, has attributed the country’s abysmal performance at major championships to lack of competitions and long term programme for the swimmers.

Nigeria would have missed the just-concluded Confederation of African Swimming Association Zone 2 Senior Championships safe for the intervention of the International Swimming Federation an official has said.
Babatunde Fatai-Williams, President, Nigeria Aquatic Federation, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.
Fatai-Williams said that the swimming federation did not get any financial support from the government hence, the intervention by FINA.
NAN reports that the Nigerian contingent to the swimming competition had a good outing, winning bronze behind the host Senegal and Ghana.
Nigeria went to the tournament with only seven swimmers, including Yellow Yeiyah, Ebarakumo Dino, Foresight Osamezu, Timipame-ere Akiayefa, Deborah Okpochini, Chinelo Iyadi and Evelyn Nmor.
Fatai-Williams said that the world swimming governing body came to the rescue of the federation when it became apparent that no help was coming from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development.
He said: “The senior swimming competition in Dakar Senegal recently was an excellent competition; we had a very good turnout of 12 countries.
“We went there with good small size team. We wrote to FINA to apply for financial support because we did not get any support from the sports ministry.
“We explored the window that FINA uses to assist countries to the competition and that is how we got funds to fly the team to thee.
“We also had to reduce the number of swimmers we registered for the competition but away from this distraction, we are able to get a decent campaign.’’
Fatai-William said it was all goodwill for the team that came out third in the keenly contested tournament, adding that the country would continue to ensure good grassroots development programmes.
He said: “It is goodwill we went with small team than what we went with two years ago.
“At the last tournament, hosted by Senegal, we came second though we went with bigger team, 10 swimmers but this time we could only go with seven swimmers.
“Out of 40 events, we were able to do 30 though for many of the events, we only entered one swimmer, while others were allowed enter two swimmers per event.
“We said okay, and came third, Ghana came second because they went with a bigger team than us, including three swimmers who had just come back from the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.”
NAN reports that Iyadi won gold in the 50m breaststroke and100m women butterfly, while Nmor won gold in the women 100m breaststroke and silver in the 50m breaststroke.
Yeiyah also won silver in the men’s 50m breaststroke.