By Jacob Ajom
Delta State swimmers to the second Chief of Navy Staff open swimming championship again reaffirmed the notion that champions die hard as they swept the stakes and topped the medal table with a whooping 17 gold, 17 silver and 9 bronze medals to win the three-day event.
Captain of the state team, Sampson Opuakpo, who won 7 gold medals was declared the best male swimmer of the championship while the best female swimmer, Rachael Tonjo, whose medal haul of 5 gold medals helped Edo State to the second position with 7 gold 2 silver and two bronze medals. The two state teams were awarded trophies.
Ogun State placed 3rd with Yellow Yeiyah piloting their medal challenge. Yeiyah alone bagged five gold but overall the Ogun State team bagged 6 gold.
Ten states, the Navy, the Army, the Police and the University of Ibadan were also represented at the event.
Meanwhile, Nigeriaâ€™s elite swimmers and officials were all in agreement that the CNS championship has been the best thing that has happened to the sport locally in the past eight years.
Speaking after the event, Sampson Opuakpo said, â€œthis has been a good championship and we the swimmers are happy that this happened. We give kudos to the new board. We just hope more of this will come our way.â€
Corroborating what his Delta State counterpart said, Yellow Yeiyah of Ogun State said, â€œwe have not seen this type of competition for a long time now. It has been an interesting experience as it has given us an opportunity to compete ahead of camping for the zone three championship in Akure next month.
In like manner, former number one female swimmer in the country, Gloria Mmor of the Nigerian Army is optimistic that the new spirit among the board members would bring back the good times she used to see some years ago. â€œFormer governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili tried a lot to encourage everybody. It was good then. That is what I feel the new board of Babatunde Fatai Williams is trying to do.”