Nigerian athletes intensify training for Commonwealth Games

Nigerian athletes preparing for the Commonwealth Games have intensified preparations in various camps across the nation.

The competition is billed for April 2018.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports began its first phase of camping for the athletes on December 17, 2018 in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

Boxers, table tennis and para table tennis players are camping in Lagos; the weightlifters are in Abuja while Port Harcourt is hosting Athletics and para athletics.

The Camp Commandant Dr Segun Akinlotan who spoke on the activities at the Brai Ayonote Boxing Gymnasium where the boxers are currently training, said that a total of 32 boxers and 4 coaches led by Tony Konyegwachie will camp till January 16 for the first phase.

Akinlotan said, “The boxers and officials are in high spirit. Training kit including track suits, t-shirts, slippers and knickers have been supplied to the boxers. Feeding is okay and the atmosphere is generally conducive.

“By the end of the first phase of camping, the boxers will be reduced to 16 as the second phase is billed to start from Jan 17th to 16th February.”

Elsewhere at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research Yaba, Lagos, 16 players including 8 para table tennis players, 8 able players and 14 officials are camped.

Camp Commandant Ms Mbora Ikana Mbora said the players train twice daily at the knock-up hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos and are well kitted for training.

“Feeding is adequate and timely as supervised by the Medical team. Haruna Quadri and two other para players Faith Bazuaye and Tope Ogunsanya have already qualified for the Games. We are targeting a podium appearance,” Mbora said.

In Abuja, a total of 12 weightlifters made up of 7 female and 5 male are camping at the Package B of the Abuja National Stadium.

The Camp Chaperone Mrs Chinedu Ezeala said that the lifters have shown great sense of responsibility and discipline.

She said, “The weightlifters have displayed a great sense of responsibility. We want to ensure a podium performance at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia.”

The IAAF High Performance Centre at the University of Port Harcourt is hosting 40 track and field athletes and 9 Para athletes.

Camp Commandant and Assistant Director Elite Athletes Mrs Maria Wophill said athletes enjoyed a peaceful celebration on Christmas Day.

“We celebrated Christmas in camp and it was peaceful.

“Our first trial comes up on January 15. It will be an open trial as athletes who are not in camp will be allowed to fight for qualification. The second phase of camping will commence immediately after the trials as we expect changes in times and performance. Facilities here are of high standards so we also expect good performances from the athletes.”