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Fix aging gym at National stadium, stakeholders plead



Buhari names National Stadium after MKO Abiola

Some amateur boxers including the General Secretary, Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF), have called for the rehabilitation of the aging gymnasium (gym) at the National Stadium, Surulere.

The boxers made the call on Thursday in an interview with our reporter in Lagos.

They urged the relevant authority to urgently address the deplorable condition of one of the oldest boxing gym in Nigeria at the 63-year-old facility.

It was reported that several boxers, who competed for Nigeria at local and international levels, had trained at the facility.

Our correspondent who visited the weather-beaten facility reports that, apart from the blown off roof, shattered windows and a septic tank that had caved in, toilets seats at the gym were also broken or in bad shape.

Some of the athletes, including amateur boxers, told NAN that the deplorable state of the boxing gym, being the only one available at the facility, had affected their training needs.

An amateur boxer, Sunday Usman, who described the gym’s current condition as an eye sore, also alleged that it was ‘out of use for the past few years’.

“People can just come and take a look at where we are training as boxers; this is supposed to be a national stadium which should boast of the best gym, but the opposite is the case.

“Even the floor is not good enough and one may get injured on the floor if care is not taken. We are pleading with our government to help us fix this place,’’ Usman said.

Another amateur boxer, Clement Bassey, said that notwithstanding that the love for boxing had sustained him as an athlete, the present state of the gym was a discouragement to him.

“If not because that I love boxing, I should not be found here at all. Sometimes, I go to other gym to train, but the fact remains that I don’t want to go professional yet.

“Training under this condition is harsh and discouraging; sometimes whenever it rains, the whole gym will be flooded because the roof has been blown off.

“Some of the boxers don’t even like coming here, except when there is an appointment with the national coach, who is domiciled here at the National Stadium,’’ he said.

The General Secretary of the NBF, Oladapo Akinyele, also called for an urgent fixing of the dilapidated facility.

“Of course, this is where we train and we have to manage it like that. Some of the boxers who went for the Olympics qualifiers in Thailand trained here.

“It is in a sorry state, the roof has been blown off. Many times I provided some palliative by buying some nylon cover for the ceiling, but they are constantly blown away by winds.

“We need to give the present government a chance to steadily address this problems because they are inherited ones. Am sure that the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan-Enoh will soon address the problem.

“The Minister cares a lot about boxing especially with our good outings during the last African Games,” he said.

Olanrewaju Akojede

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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