…target grassroots exploration
The chairman of the newly inaugurated Edo State Aquatic Association Mr Clement Sunday Minabowan has expressed his association’s readiness to immediately hit the ground running with a realizable programme, geared towards raising talents for Edo State Sports Commission.
The former swimming champion and gold medalist for old Bendel State said that his association is ready for work, adding that they are in a hurry to put Edo water sport on the right track by discovering and developing athletes from the grassroots to national and international standards.
“We are determined to change the narratives of the Edo Aquatic Association. We are coming up with a calendar of activities. Our first plan is to source funds and ensure that sponsors support us in our bid to organize regular competitions.
We will explore the riverine areas. We need to go there to get most of the raw talent. We hope to get raw talent in addition to what the state government has proposed. We need to have a standing camp which will enable athletes to be at a hostel where they will be available for regular training.”
This year, we should be able to have a competition which will help discover talents both at the rural and state capital level. The next thing will be to keep the discovered athletes in camp to help enhance their skills in swimming for future competitions.
The state government has made our job easier by setting up School Sports Festival Committee which will help in scouting for new talents. Thus, our talent base is going to be at all levels. We are going to work in collaboration with the School Sports Festival Committee.” He said.
On tackling envisaged challenges, Minabowan who admitted that
funds are usually the primary challenges in raising athletes, saying that his association will not work in isolation. According to him, “It takes a lot and that is why the State government appointed us as the right individuals to help get sponsorship for our programmes and we are going to do our best to get sponsorship from different corporations.
The maintenance of the swimming pool is a big challenge. Swimming pool maintenance is not cheap. Given this, we are planning to locate and maintain water stretches in our catchment areas.
We will also do our best to locate the riverfront in addition to the use of swimming pools. In those days, we were often taken to the Okhuahe and Okhoro Rivers in Benin for training.” Minabowan emphasized.
Other members of the Edo State Aquatic Association include Mr Sam Imoukhuede Akhiemokhan, Mrs Omorogiuwa Weyimi, Mr Henry Inneh Igiehon and Mr Osarobo Aganmwonyi among others.