Consider Investing In Boxing Ahead Of National Festival, Somide Tells Ogun Govt

ABEOKUTA – Chairman of Ogun State Boxing Association, Mr. Christopher Somide has tasked the state government to strongly consider an investment in the game of boxing, if the state must win the 2024 National Sports Festival to be hosted by the state.

Somide expressed confidence in the quality of boxers in the state, saying they have what it takes to clinch all the 25 gold medals with the needed investment in the boxers, in terms of exposure to various national competitions and first-class facilities in Europe and America.

The Chairman also stressed the need for government to invest heavily in the provision of the needed equipment to prepare the boxers for the coming sports festival, to enable them perform optimally in the boxing event.

He gave the charge last week when the boxing association paid the Commissioner for Sports Development courtesy visit at his office in Abeokuta.

Members of Ogun State boxing Association

Somide who was represented by an International Boxing Association (IBA) Referee, Mr. Razak Oyadiran maintained that, lack of sponsorship to foreign training and permanent employment for many of the boxers, discourage them from representing the state at any national events.

“I think in Ogun state, the only sport that can compare very close to boxing is probably swimming in terms of the time the kind of medals will bring home. And when we think about that, the investment of Ogun state should be carefully considered and placed at the right place.

“We’re not envious of football for its popularity. But at the end of the day, football will give you just two gold medals at most. One for male and one for female. If the kind of attention that is given to a team game like football is given to boxing, then Ogun state will smile home in terms of medal haul. Now we are preparing for National Sports Festival, Ogun State is lucky because of the kind of manpower we have in terms of the coaches on in terms of the organizers. We parade the best in terms of manpower in Nigeria to so much that other states come to Ogun state to poach our sportsmen. They come to steal our talents.

“The boxers, discovered, raised, trained in Ogun State up to champion level, but alas, at the die minutes, many of these talents would be taken away from Ogun state and we find ourselves fighting against people we discovered at the National Festival.

“We need to encourage our manpower, make sure that they are given the right equipment to train. We need to encourage our boxers make sure that our their welfare is adequately taken care of. Boxing is combat sport, is not an easy sport. So when you have a talent that you have discovered, that you are nurturing, then you should make sure that you protect that boxer, because there are people who want to steal these boxers at the last minute.

“Don’t let us forget that during National Sports Festival there is a crucial issue that we must consider, the residential qualification of our athletes and that is why at the right time, our boxers must be protected and those that are good enough offered appointments to make sure that they are retained and will be sure of using them at the right time.”

Responding, the Commissioner for Sports Development, Wasiu Isiaka lauded the association for complimenting the efforts of the state government in discovering talents and nurturing them to stardom.

Hon. Isiaka assured the association that the government would revamp all sporting facilities across the state ahead of the National Sports Festival.


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