Obiano to make Anambra aquatics sports continental headquarters — State Aquatics Association Chairman, Chuka Ifeama

By Maduabuchi Kalu on October 20, 2019

Views: 232

There is no doubt that Anambra State is not a name you are likely to see when aquatics sports is mentioned in the country but if what the Chairman of the State Aquatics Association, Jonathan Chuka Ifeama is anything to go by, all that is going to be a thing of the past as the State Governor, His Excellency Dr. William Maduabuchi Obiano, has given the association mandate to ensure that the state becomes the destination of aquatics sports not only in Nigeria but the whole of Africa in the nearest possible time.

The Anambra Aquatics Association Chairman in a recent exclusive interview with The Oracle Today Sports at the Swimming Pool Complex of the National Stadium Surulere Lagos, where the just-concluded 8th Chief Naval Staff National Open Swimming Championship took place, expressed the desire to actualise the Governor’s mandate of making Anambra the Mecca of aquatics sports in Africa.

He assured that aquatics sports lovers in the state that with the support of Governor Obiano, Anambra is going to build swimming pools and aquatics centres across the state even as he expressed optimism that with the Governor’s support, there will be a swimming pool in the state before the end of the governor’s tenure, who has about three years left on his last mandate as the man at the helm of affairs in Anambra State. Excerpts:

Please, can we meet you?

Yes! My name is Jonathan Chuka Ifeama, the Chairman of Anambra State Aquatics Association, the body in charge of swimming and other aquatics sports in the state.

It is like this is the first time we are having a swimming association in Anambra State?

No, this not the first time that we are having swimming association. We have always had swimming association but the current global trend refers to swimming now as aquatics sports because it comprises different sports apart from swimming. We have other water sports apart from swimming that is why the association is now refer to as aquatics association or federation at the national level. In aquatics sports we have swimming, water polo, high diving, synchronised swimming which we now call astatic swimming. We also have Open Water swimming. These are the different areas of the aquatics sports. Therefore, aquatics sports is beyond swimming and the body or association that supervises these various water sports is now known as aquatics. The definition now (aquatics) captures these different aspects of water sports.

When did you come into office?

I came into office last precisely before the Federation elections. I was inaugurated by my state last year.

What are the plans on ground to ensure that Anambra as a state has a public swimming pool because from my person investigation, there is no single swimming pool in the five southeast states? So, what are the plans to ensure that Anambra that is supposed to be the pacesetter in sports not only in the southeast but in the country has a swimming pool that can be referred to as public swimming pool?

We have very great plans for aquatics sports in the state. Our Governor, His Excellency Dr. William Maduabuchi Obiano, is a sports loving governor and he is determined to take the state to next level as far as aquatics and sports are concerned. What we can do as association is to work with the government, the chairman of the Anambra State Sports Commission, Tony Oli. We have plans to construct an Olympic-size swimming pools and aquatics centre in Anambra State. We are going to have more than one as funds permit but we must have a standard Olympic-size swimming pool that will be best standard that can host any event worldwide. We are going to have one in Anambra State in the shortest possible period. So that we can use it as a term plate to train our young boys and girls, young men and women to become future Olympic champions, that is the mandate of this association. That is my mandate, to make sure that Anambra has somebody at the podium if not in Paris in 2014, but in Olympic after that. We might not have it in Tokyo 2020 that is just a few months away. Yet we still want to have Anambrarian at the podium at the Olympic swimming event in four years and eight years’ time; that is my mandate.

But they say it is easier said than done. But you have to have vision to enable you to achieve your aim.

Having come to this CNS for the very first time, have you seen anything that has fuelled your desire to actualise or realise your dream for Anambra Aquatics?

That is a very nice question. We already have that programme in place. Anambra is an aquatic state. Anambra starts from a river. Anambra is named after a river. If you are coming in from Delta State, you will meet a river before you get into Anambra. When you are coming in from Enugu State, you will equally meet a river before coming into Anambra State. So, Anambra is an aquatic state and we want to be No1 destination of aquatics in the whole of Africa. That is our vision and we are not mixing words about that. We must have it. We must get it done because we are an aquatic state. We have riverine communities, the governor is from a riverine community and there are many of such communities like the Ogbaru, the Aguleri, Otuocha and other areas. We have rivers and young people who can swim very well.

The reason we decided that we must have an Olympic-size swimming pool at least one, we will have more than one because we want to be the capital of aquatics in Africa. The reason why we want to have an Olympic-size Swimming Pool is to enable us demonstrate swimming as a sport and not just as a leisure. We have people who can swim very well and Anambra has a history of swimming many years ago with a lot of big names in swimming that have come from Anambra even before Nigeria’s Independence. So, aquatics sports are not new to us however, this time round we want to add more spice to what we have. Already we have people at the grassroots who swim, who fish for a living and have to swim to survive when they have to leave their canoes to swim as well. So, swimming is part of our culture and tradition, but we want to formalise it as an Olympic sport and have more people who may not even come from riverine areas to be trained scientifically on how to swim backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle and then synchronised swimming and play games in water polo. These are the things we intend to do going forward and I believe that my Governor will give us more necessary support to have outpost in events like this in the nearer future. And if we are given the opportunity to host the National Sports Festival (NSF) we cannot do that without a standard Olympic-size Swimming Pool. So, for us to be on the sporting map of Nigeria by hosting the National Sports Festival, we must be a part of aquatics sports family since we cannot play host to the National Sports Festival without aquatics sports. We must have a standard Olympic-size Swimming Pool at least one or two or three as the case may be to propel our state to the vision this association has and the mandate of His Excellency, the governor.

With the governor having probably about three years left on his final lap in charge of the state, do you think that this noble dream of having a standard Olympic-size swimming pool in the state will be realise before the end of his tenure?

His Excellency, the Governor is an action man. His traditional title is “Akpokuo Dike” which in Igbo Language means when you call a great man, he answers you by action and not by words. The Governor is an action man; he has done a lot of work in the state. He is going to do much more. He will definitely do more during this tenure. Anambra is going to stamp its mark in swimming and other sports. The Governor is an action man.


Source Daily Sports

Posted October 20, 2019


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