Lagos State Now Centre Of Judo Excellence
BY ALIU MUKAILA LANRE
For playing a pivotal role in the development of judo in the country, the Nigeria Judo Federation (NJF) has declared Lagos State the Centre of Judo Excellence in Nigeria.
The President of the NJF, Dr Musa Oshodi (a 5th Dan judoka) revealed during the closing ceremony of the recently concluded National Open Judo Trials in Lagos that the federation deemed it fit to add a new feather to Lagos cap in the development of the sport in Nigeria and to this end, he said the state would henceforth be called and addressed as Nigeria’s Centre of Judo Excellence by the judo family in Nigeria and across the world.
Giving reasons why the federation bestowed on Lagos State this new status, Dr Oshodi said that “there could not have been a place for the renaissance of our sport than in Lagos; indisputably the Centre of Excellence, a land of aquatic splendour. According to him “Lagos means different things to different people and institutions, but to judo, Lagos means everything, it is our cradle”.
“Nigerian judo was midwived in Lagos by the Nigeria Police whose three young officers, Sabitu Giwa, Alex Dauda and David Macham travelled to Japan in 1971 to acquire the knowledge of the oriental sport and subsequently returned to spread the message of the art.
“Since playing that historic role, Lagos has maintained an enviable position in our sport. The state has produced great judokas, seasoned coaches, erudite referees and top-notch administrators.”
Dr Oshodi said the state provided a conducive environment for the hosting of the just concluded National Trials at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, which the NJF used to select judokas who will be called to camp ahead of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games which will be staged from 28 July – 8 August in the United Kingdom.
“Coming to Lagos for the National Trials was homecoming for us and for our sport. Expectedly, Lagos did not disappoint in the discharge of its hosting responsibility,” he said.
The NJF boss thanked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who gave his approval for the hosting of the trials, adding that the “governor’s gesture will certainly enjoy a golden chapter in our book when the history of judo in Nigeria is written.
“To the management of the Lagos State Sports Commission under the leadership of Executive Chairman, Sola Aiyepeku and the Director-General Oluwatoyin Gafaar Bolowotan, I say a big thank you. We must also commend the Chairman of Lagos State Judo Association, Mr. Sheriff Hammed who is also my Special Adviser on Marketing and Branding for facilitating the homecoming of judo to Lagos. We owe him a debt of gratitude.
“For our partners, we say a big thank you to MTN, Kellogs, Lagos State Signage Advertisement Agency (LASAA) and Havas, our marketing ally.
“Our gratitude also goes to the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria who has promised us equipment and facilities support,” Oshodi said