Shooting Federation Optimistic Of Medals’ Haul In Morocco
By Amos Eche
Brigadier General Lonsdale Adeoye, President of the Nigerian Shooting Sport Federation, NSSF, has assured lovers of Shooting Sport and the entire Nigerian populace of a great outing in Morocco when the12th African Games commence in the North African Maghreb country.
Speaking during the final day of a two-day national open trials for shooters held at the Nigerian National Shooting Range, Package B, Abuja National Stadium Complex, General Adeoye described the trials as initial preparatory stage for the athletes.
He said after the two trials, there would be an actual trial which would commence on the 5th of July this year which is in line with a release from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
“What we are doing now as a Federation, due to the rustiness of some of the athletes as they had not gone into any known competition for a very long time, is to marry up both the old and new shooters in order to open up competitiveness and afford the Federation the opportunity to pick the best to represent Nigeria in the Sport at the Games.
“Before an athlete can be called for the July 5th camp, he or she must have the minimum percentage of score, which is 520 points for the men’s category or 500 points for the women’s category.
“Whoever scores up that level, with some technical assistance, could improve and get the minimum qualifying scores. You can imagine we are using the Manual Range here, and some shooters are already getting up to 560 and 570 points, which is competitive. But we can still surpass that as they would be using Electronic Ranges and Scoreboards in Morocco, which is why we have to redouble our efforts to get the best during the second phase of the camping.
“During the second phase of the camping, only eight athletes who scored the highest points from the two days’ trials programme will be invited for the July 5th final camping where the best Pistol, Rifle and Short Gun men’s and women’s shooters will be selected to represent the country for the Games”, the NSSF President explained.
Nigeria is expected to feature two men’s shooters and two women’s shooters in both categories, a development the NSSF President described as disheartening by organizers of the African Games as it would not afford other athletes the ground to display their prowess.
Brigadier General Lonsdale Adeoye, however, took time to commend the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the Nigerian Armed Forces, Para-Military, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria(SWAN) and other stakeholders for their supports and contributions, assuring them of justifying the confidence reposed in the Board of the NSSF.
Also lending her voice, Board member of NSSF, Group Captain Rahinatu Garba(Nigerian Air Force), appreciated the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Michael Olusola Olusade, and other critical stakeholders for finding it necessary to include Shooting Sport for the African Games.
She encouraged the shooters to be disciplined in their quest to feature at the Games and desist from any drug-related and embarrassing habits in order not to throw the good image of the country into shame and probably leading to a ban.
Group Captain Rahinatu, explained that to be called to camp was an opportunity given to the shooters to prove their worth, saying what was left for them was to put in their best, and remain focused so that the main goals could be achieved at the African Games.
Two cities of Rabat and Casablanca in Morocco will host the 12th African Games from 19th to 31st August, 2019, with 54 countries participating, including Nigeria.