The refurbished National Stadium Swimming Pool, Surulere, Lagos, is set to host the West Africa Junior Swimming Championships, the first tournament since its new look.
Newsmen report that the Nigeria Aquatics Federation (NAF) has secured the pool to host the 2nd Africa (CANA Zone 2) Junior Swimming Championships holding from Oct. 27 to 0ct. 29.
The newly renovated pool which hosted the 1973 All Africa Games will, however, be playing host to 20 nations from the West African sub-region.
An on the spot assessment by newsmen showed that the facilities within the swimming pool arena were being upgraded, while the conveniences were being refurbished.
The State Box, the Press Gallery and the spectators’ stands are being painted, while the floor of the swimming pool arena was also replaced with new tiles.
One of the contractors on site at the stadium, Abiodun Salau, said that the work was about 95 per cent done.
“The work is almost done and we are happy with the pace of work, the pool will be ready on time because the organisers are always here to check its progress.
“The pool is ready to host any championships now, the organisers will be back tomorrow to check on the work in progress which they will be satisfied with,’’ he said.
In the same vein, NAF’s Secretary, Samuel Jasmiel, told NAN that he was happy to see the swimming pool coming back to life after about 18 years of inactivity.
“I am happy that the pool is coming back; it’s a day we have been waiting for.
“The pool is one of the best swimming facilities to host our big events as we will be having it starting from Friday.
“The preparation is in top gear and we are ready to host West Africa, the facilities are also ready and the logistics are in great shape too.
“The federation has done everything within its power to ensure a hitch-free competition for the junior swimmers, and they are also excited to come to Nigeria,’’ he said.
Jasmiel said that about 15 countries had signified their interest in the Junior Championships, adding that they would be complemented by their Nigerian counterparts.
“Our young swimmers are ready now after the trials we conducted last weekend. About 22 of them qualified to participate in the championships.
“We have put the swimmers in three camps in Bayelsa, Delta, and Ondo States. They are being coached by experienced tutors from the federation.
“We are also having technical meetings to put finishing touches to our preparations towards the hosting of the tournament,’’ he said.
Newsmen report that countries under the CANA Zone 2 (West and Central Africa) include Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Togo and Guinea.
Others are: Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Benin, Niger and Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville and Mali.