President Goodluck Jonathan
Top Nigerian shooters are scheduled undergo a two-day drilling at the NOPTEL sponsored National Shooting Development Workshop scheduled to begin today at the Army Headquarters (AHQ) Command Officers Mess Asokoro in Abuja.
According to the President of Nigeria Shooting Sports Federation (NSSF), Brig. Johnny General Hamakim, top brass of the military, including serving ministers, security chiefs, and state governors are expected at the Noptel/NSSF event.
President Goodluck Jonathan is to be decorated as Grand Patron of the NSSF while the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada would be honoured as first female Patron of the shooting federation.
The NSSF president revealed that the presence of top military officers at the event is to help draw attention to the sport capable of winning medals for Nigeria as well as boost the technical capacity, training and sponsorship of the shooters ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“The two-day workshop will feature model shooting range, hardware equipment handling and advanced shooting techniques and methodology by select marksmen from across the federation who will be engaged in both theory and practice of aiming higher to score the bull’s eye at international shooting championships.
“The sharp shooters are expected to be the pivot of coaching crew and technical handlers for Team Nigeria training and exposure toward 2016 Rio Olympics qualifying rounds,” observed Gen. Hamakim.
NSSF Technical Director, Brig General Lonsdale Adeoye has also expressed optimism that the inclusion of shooting as Olympic sport was a welcome development to Nigeria.
“We have been grooming shooters ahead of the Olympic Games,” he revealed.
He revealed that shooting has 36 medals to vie for in various events including air pistol and rifle at the the Rio Games.
“IOC has recently dropped cricket, polo, yachting and baseball from the accredited sports for Rio while shooting was given the nod. This is a great opportunity for our shooters to get cracking and update their skills for maximum points to pave way for their ISF rating,” he stressed for emphasis.
Nigeria shooters have competed for honours at various African shooting championships in Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa and have equally tested their skills at Commonwealth level in Canada, Australia and India. South Africa rules the continent in successive continental shooting championships.