Nigeria can produce world champions in swimming — Tonjur

Nigeria can produce world champions in swimming — Tonjur

By Ben Efe

Swimming is regarded as a ‘lesser sport’ in Nigeria, but Olympian Rachel Tonjur has urged Nigerian sports authorities to make investments in the aquatic disciplines because there are born swimmers and the potentials to win medals at international sports contests is limitless.

Tonjur, won four gold, two silver, and one bronze medal at the last National Sports Festival for hosts Edo State. She argued that swimming has been so neglected in Nigeria, even as it is a major medal spinning sport at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and African Games.

“At the Olympics, Nigeria would be looking for athletes to win gold medals, whereas one athlete in another country is winning as much as seven gold,” sighed Tonjur, who competed in the women 100m breaststroke at 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

“We have to make investments in Nigerian swimming, we can groom swimmers that can be world champions, we have natural-born swimmers who only need to be nurtured to Olympic standards.

“Government at all levels should start doing something to elevate swimming, it’s not just about football alone.

“We only have one competition in a year, the Chief of Naval Staff Swimming Championship, and sometimes it doesn’t hold.

“At the senior level we need training grants, we need to travel out of the country for competitions and training just like swimmers from South Africa and Egypt who are dominating Africa.

“It’s so easy to blame Nigerian swimmers if they don’t do well at international events, but people don’t bother much about the conditions they train in. We can do better with swimming in Nigeria.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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Source: Sports – Vanguard News

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