Amidst an air of anticipation and camaraderie, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, has flagged off the highly awaited NAVTRAC Games 2023 which kicked off with great enthusiasm at the Nigerian Navy Sports Complex in Navy Town, Ojo.
The event, spanning from August 20 to August 26, marks a significant step forward in the Nigerian Navy’s commitment to nurturing sports talent and promoting physical wellbeing.
Ogalla who was represented by the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mohammed Abdullahi expressed his delight at the burgeoning role of sports as a rapidly growing profession on the global stage, with both governmental and non-governmental bodies making substantial investments in its development.
He lauded the NAVTRAC Games 2023 as an initiative by the Naval Training Command to unearth and celebrate exceptional sportsmen and women within the Nigerian Navy. He noted that the event stands as a testament to the Navy’s dedication to fostering mental and physical wellbeing among its officers and ratings.
“The NAVTRAC GAMES 2023″ is yet another Nigerian Navy demonstration of interest to be one of the leading sports developers in Nigeria. I am hopeful that this sporting competition will further reveal new talents that would fortify our chances of being a power house in the Nigerian sports industry. I have no doubts in the capacity of the organiser that the competitors will strive to create new national records for future local and international competitions.
Certainly, the event will not just entertain us but also project positively the image of the Nigerian Navy as sports enthusiast as well as developer. Therefore, I am confident that this event will avail talent hunters the opportunity to hand pick new talents for greater adventures. Let me also state that the NN Department of Sports and Physical Training use this event to identify talents that will be NN representative in future competitions,” he said.
Referencing the successful NN Games 2022, Vice Admiral Ogalla underscored the Navy’s enduring commitment to sports development and its role in strengthening civil-military relations.
The NAVTRAC GAMES 2023, he emphasized, is a continuation of this commitment and a demonstration of the Navy’s aspirations to become a prominent player in Nigeria’s sports arena.
The Chief of the Naval Staff expressed optimism that the competition would act as a catalyst for discovering fresh talents that would elevate Nigeria’s standing in the international sports domain.
He confidently anticipated that participants would set new national records, setting the stage for future local and international competitions. This event, he noted, would not only provide entertainment but also enhance the Nigerian Navy’s image as a sports enthusiast and developer.
He praised the establishment of professional sporting clubs within the Nigerian Navy, such as the Navy Spikers, Admiralty Football Club, and Polo Club, as promising initiatives that are already making their mark in the local sports landscape.
According to him, “Today all over the world both military and civil organisations recognise sports as a key sector to invest not just for health benefits but to create a very dependable sources of employment for the teeming youths. Thus, the Nigerian Navy places high premium on sports entertainment through events such as this.
“Presently, the Nigerian navy has taken initiative by establishing professional sporting clubs like the Navy Spikers, Admiralty Football Club and Polo Club amongst others. These are clubs already making impacts in the local sports industry in the country. It is hoped that these clubs will join professional leagues in the nearest future.”
With an eye on the future, Vice Admiral Ogalla urged participants to view the NAVTRAC Games 2023 as a platform to launch their sporting ambitions and to compete in the spirit of sportsmanship.
He urged strict adherence to the rules of the games to ensure fairness and camaraderie.
The Chief of the Naval Staff also urged officiating staff to uphold professionalism, impartiality, and fairness throughout the competition.
In his address, the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Training Command, Rear Admiral Patrick Nwatu, believed the games will engender comradeship, enable NAVTRAC personnel channel their energy into productive activities and unveil new talents to the Nigerian sports industry.
“Being the first of its kind in recent years, this event is aimed at achieving 3 things. First, the 2023 NAVTRAC GAMES is aimed at engendering comradeship amongst NAVTRAC personnel while consolidating physical and mental aspect of training. Secondly, considering the vices in our society, this games will go a long way to enabling NAVTRAC personnel channel their energy into productive activities and away from negative vices.
This sporting competition will further unveil new talents that would fortify our chances of being a power house in the Nigerian sports industry. I am hopeful that these would be achieved by the end of this event,” he said.
“Dear athletes, rest assured that we all are standing with you, cheering and supporting you. May this encourage you to go faster, to aim higher and to become stronger – together. It is in this light that I urge participants to see this competition as a platform to make new friends and launch their sporting ambition in the spirit of good sportsmanship,” he said.
Participants of the games include: Nigerian Navy Logistics College Kano, Nigerian Navy College of Account & Finance, Owerrita, Nigerian Navy College Onne, Nigerian Navy Basic Training School, Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School.
Others are Nigerian Navy Engineering College Sapele, Nigerian Navy Ship QUORRA, Nigerian Navy School of Armament Technology, Nigerian Navy Provost and Regulating School, Nigeria Navy Centre of Education And Training Technology, Lagos, Nigerian Navy College of Health Sciences in Offa, Kwara State.
Similar to other developing countries worldwide, the Nigerian Navy is well aware of the contemporary security challenges prevalent in society. This awareness drives their unwavering commitment to the 2023 Naval Training Command games, aimed at ensuring their physical and psychological preparedness for combat. Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, who at the opening ceremony, emphasized the Navy’s fervor for sports, aligning with global best practices.
Rear Admiral Patrick Nwatu, the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Training Command, elucidated that these games are a pivotal component of the Nigerian Navy’s strategy to cultivate talents capable of elevating Nigeria’s influence not only within Africa but also on the global stage.
One noteworthy football match featured the under-15 boys from Navy Barracks Mobile Road, who held the host team from Ojo Barracks to an equitable 1-1 draw. Beyond football, athletes showcased their prowess in handball, basketball, and swimming, contributing to the overarching goal of boosting productivity and efficiency in their professional responsibilities.