By Philip Nwosu And Vivian Onyebukwa
The Eastern Naval Command (ENC) of the Nigerian Navy on Tuesday emerged the overall winner of the 12th Nigerian Navy Games, which closed at the ultra-modern sports complex inside Navy Town, Ojo Lagos.
The Command clinched the first position with 56 gold medals ahead of the Naval Headquarters 51 gold, Central Naval Command 47 gold, Western Naval Command 35 gold, Naval Training Command 24, and Logistics Command 2 gold medals.
The Eastern Naval Command also won the football finals, while the Nigeria Customs female and male teams won the 4×100m invitational relay races respectively, and the Nigeria Police team beat the Nigerian Air Force team in the “tug-of-war” event.
Speaking during the closing ceremony, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, expressed satisfaction that the Games has further imbued confidence of readiness and togetherness among personnel of the Nigerian Navy.
Admiral Gambo said: “The Games have further positioned the Nigerian Navy towards ameliorating security challenges and I want to reassure Nigerians of Nigerian Navy’s resolve to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment for socio- economic activities to thrive.”
He commended participants at the Games and particularly charged medalists to sustain their wins while those who did not win, he encouraged to brace up for future Games.
“I congratulate those who participated, particularly those who won medals. It is one thing to win medals, and it is another to hold on to the medals won.
“I will therefore encourage you to hold on to these medals as well as improve on winning more medals in subsequent competitions and Games.
“For those who did not win, there are always opportunities to prove yourselves. I congratulate you all.”
Similarly, the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magaji (Rtd.), who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, commended the Nigerian Navy for organising the Games with the aim of keeping its personnel physically fit and mentally alert.
He said: “The desire by the Nigerian Navy to commit resources toward ensuring personnel requisite standards of mental and physical wellbeing is very commendable.
“The Nigerian Navy ascribes importance to physical fitness and mental alertness, which is key considerations required by personnel of the Armed Forces to overcome challenges and increasing demands in the theatre of operations.”
He also commended the Nigerian Navy for its contributions towards securing the maritime domain for the benefit of Nigerians and the economic prosperity of the nation.
He pledged continued support of the Ministry of Defence to the Nigerian Navy as the nation prepares for the forthcoming general elections.
Earlier, the Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, spoke of the discovery of new talents that would be of great benefit both for the Nigerian Navy and for national and international competitions.
“The discovery of new and exciting talents during the Games will ensure that the Nigerian Navy Games will continue to serve as a feeder tournament to the Armed Forces Games as well as to Nigerian sports in general.”
Gbassa also spoke about the number of naval personnel who participated in the Games and the new benchmarks established.
“Specifically, a total of 1029 Nigerian Navy personnel representing six Commands of the Nigerian Navy competed gallantly in 22 events. Several records were broken and new benchmarks for sporting excellence in the Nigerian Navy were set.
“The Games have pushed our personnel to the best of their abilities as sports men and women creating indelible moments that would ensure that the 12th Nigerian Navy Games remain etched on our memories for a long time to come.”
In his goodwill message, the Special Guest and Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, expressed confidence that the Navy Games was a good ground for finding great sportsmen and women, besides its contributions to the wellness of the Naval personnel.
Present at the event were for Principal Staff Officers of the Nigerian Navy, Royal fathers, maritime stakeholders and sports enthusiasts.
The 12th Nigerian Navy Games held from September 8 -13, 2022. It was the first time that the Games held in the multi-purpose sports facility in Lagos.