Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State said on Sunday that lack of modern equipment and late preparations were among reasons why Nigeria fails to win laurels at continental and global championships.
Fashola made the remark at the inauguration of an ultra-modern boxing gymnasium built by an NGO, the Lagos State Boxing Hall of Fame (LSBHF) in Ikate, Surulere.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NGO is also the promoter of the monthly “Saturday Boxing Show’’.
The gymnasium, situated at Ikate, Surulere, is equipped with a canteen and has hostel accommodation for over 30 boxers.
“Nigeria fails in international competitions because of lack of modern facilities and the `fire brigade’ approach we adopt in our preparations.
“With this kind of modern boxing gymnasium and with early preparations for the next four years, I am confident that Lagos State will produce the next Olympic medalists in Brazil,’’ he said.
He commended Wale Edun, Chairman, LSBHF, for the successful completion of the gymnasium and his determination to develop boxing in the state.
Fashola urged Edun not to rest on his oars in the provision of more sporting facilities and urged that the facility be put to maximum use.
The governor described the gymnasium as first of its kind in the state and in the country, adding that it would help to put the Ikate/Surulere Local Government Area on the world map.
Wahid Enitan-Oshodi, Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, also commended Edun’s quest for team work in collaborating with the state government to discover pugilists from the grassroots.
According to Enitan-Oshodi, the LSBHF, through its monthly competitions, had assisted the state government in re-directing youths away from the streets.
The commissioner said that the monthly competition had kept many talented boxers busy, noting that many of them would certainly become useful to the state and country in the near future.
Edun, in his reaction, thanked the state government for its financial support for the NGO and promised to continue to do his best to develop boxing in the state.
He urged the Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF) and the Nigerian Schools Sports Federation (NSSF) to take advantage of the gymnasium to discover budding talents in boxing.
Edun said the gymnasium was of international standard and urged the NBBF and the NSSF to use the facility to discover and train talented boxers.
He added that with the gymnasium, there was no longer a need for overseas training or tours for Nigerian boxers preparing for international competitions.