The Lagos All-Sail Championship debuting this week is set to up the ante regarding water-based activities in the state, as well as create awareness around the safe and healthy use of the waterways.
The championship will feature four categories of races: King, Queen, Prince and Princess Sea boat races.
According to the organisers, the three-day tournament billed for December 13 through 15 will be a yearly competition with the support of the Nigeria Rowing Canoe and Sailing Federation (NRCSF).
The initiative has also received support from stakeholders in the private and public sectors.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, the initiator of the tournament, Maleek Shehu, said; “For the past two and half years, we have been on the drawing board working on this and having put everything in place, we believe we are set to stage the maiden edition of the tournament that will help to put our waterway to use.
“Among other things, we hope to create awareness around the safe and healthy use to which our waterways can be put to. This kind of event will add colour to our waterways and boost tourism in Lagos State.
“The maiden edition will have four titles to be competed for with winners emerging in the King of Sea, Queen of Sea, Prince of Sea and Princess of Sea categories. All stakeholders including the marine police, Nigeria Ports Authority among others are involved in the tournament. Also, safety precautions have been put in place to ensure that we compete under a safe atmosphere,” Shehu said.
In a brief remark at the event, President of NRCSF, Rear Admiral Festus Porbeni (rtd), said the organisers have the full backing of the federation.
Porbeni said, “We are excited about the initiative that will raise the profile of water sports. When we were contacted, we were so excited with this and we hope and believe this kind of tournament will help to raise home-grown athletes.”
Marine life aficionado and safety consultant to the tournament, Ladi Ani-Mumuney, also stated at the briefing that a championship of the calibre of the Lagos All-Sail Championship will ignite interest in water sports as well as impact the country economically.
Ani-Mumuney also disclosed that over 300 athletes drawn from riverside communities will compete in the rowing and canoeing event of the competition with the sole aim of helping to discover talents.
Also speaking, Nollywood star, Caroline Hutchins said proceeds from the tournament will be deployed to supporting the less privileged communities in the state particularly in riverine areas of the state with the provision of basic amenities.