The 12th Nigerian Navy Games, which were held at the ultra-modern sports complex at Navy Town, Ojo Lagos, came to a close on Tuesday, with the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) emerging as the overall champion.
The Command secured the top spot with a total of 167 medals including 56 gold medals.
Naval Headquarters emerged second with 51 gold while the Central Naval Command received 47 gold. Western Naval Command received 35 gold medals, Naval Training Command received 24, and the Logistics Command received 2 gold medals.
At the inaugural ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari officially opened the freshly built, ultra-modern complex, noting that sports had remained a tool to foster camaraderie among troops and enforce discipline in the military.
Highlights of the games included the football match, which was also won by the Eastern Naval Command, the 4×100 meter relay races, which were won by the male and female teams of the Nigeria Customs, respectively, and the “tug-of-war” competition, which saw the Nigeria Police team defeat the Nigerian Airforce team.
Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, the Chief of Naval Staff, expressed delight at the closing ceremony noting that the games had further instilled a sense of readiness and camaraderie among Naval personnel even as they continue to while provide security services for the country’s marine domain.
The CNS said, “The games have further positioned the Nigerian Navy towards alleviating security concerns and I want to reassure Nigerians of the Nigerian Navy’s dedication to guarantee a safe and secure maritime environment for socio-economic activities to prosper.
He praised the competitors and urged medal winners in particular to hold onto their victories, while he urged those who did not win to prepare for future competitions.
“I congratulate those who participated, especially those who earned gold,” he said. Winning medals is one thing, but keeping those medals is quite another.
“I will thus urge you to keep these medals and work to do better in future contests and tournaments in order to earn additional medals.
“There are always possibilities for individuals who did not win to prove themselves. I congratulate everyone”.
In his remarks, Special Guest of Honour at the event, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd), Minister of Defence, praised the Nigerian Navy for organizing the games to maintain its sailors physically fit and intellectually alert.
He said, “The Nigerian Navy’s desire to invest resources to assuring personnel the necessary standards of mental and physical welfare is really admirable”.
“The Nigerian Navy attaches significance to physical fitness and mental alertness, which are fundamental requirements by personnel of the Armed Forces to overcome challenges and increasing demands in the theater of operations.”
Magashi, also praised the Navy for its efforts in securing the marine area for the benefit of Nigerians and the country’s economic growth.
Earlier, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, the Chief of Administration disclosed that the identification of fresh talents would be highly advantageous for the Navy as well as for regional and international competitions.
“The Nigerian Navy Games would continue to act as a feeder tournament to the Armed Forces games as well as to Nigerian sports in general, he claimed, thanks to the discovery of fresh and interesting talents during the competitions”, he said
“In particular, 1,029 members of the Nigerian Navy from six different commands participated valiantly in 22 activities, he said. Records were shattered, and the Nigerian Navy set new standards for athletic performance”
“The six naval formations, Naval Headquarters, Western Naval Command, Eastern Naval Command, Naval Training Command, Central Naval Command and Logistics Command participated in the games which featured 22 events”
“The 12th Nigerian Navy Games will live on in our memories for a very long time since the games pushed our people to the limits of their athletic prowess and produced unforgettable moments” he added.
The Special Guest and Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, expressed optimism that the Navy Games will be a fantastic place to identify great sports people in addition to its benefits to the wellbeing of the Naval personnel in his goodwill message.
Dignitaries included Royal fathers, Maritime Stakeholders, and Notable Sports Enthusiasts.
The Nigerian Navy Games 2022 started on Sept. 8 and ended on Sept. 12.