A visit to Nigeria by the International Canoe Federation development team has confirmed the country is well on track to become a major canoeing hub in Africa.
ICF Sports Development Manager and four-time Olympian Sebastian Cuattrin and Continental Development Manager Amr Temraz spent a week in Nigeria, visiting canoe sites in Abuja and Lagos and meeting leading sport officials. Nigeria has been earmarked alongside Egypt as major development countries in Africa for canoe sports. A boat development project is showing promise, and there are a variety of venue options for all levels of competition. “Africa is a major area of growth for canoe sports, as we have seen by the increased number of athletes competing at our competitions,” Cuattrin said. “It was invaluable for us to have a look for ourselves at what is happening, and the signs are very positive. The Nigerian Rowing, Canoeing and Sailing Federation is very focussed and has a clear idea on what it wants to achieve.” A two-day national coaches conference run by the Nigerian Federation and the ICF attracted 25 coaches from throughout the country. The conference addressed four main topics;
The role of coaches
The visit finished with a stakeholders’ meeting, with agreement reached on a path forward and how the ICF can continue to support the growth of canoeing in Nigeria. “I think we can confidently expect Nigeria to really take on a leadership role in Africa, and for other countries to become stronger as a result,” Cuattrin said. “We were particularly encouraged by the strong turnout from coaches wanting to learn new techniques and to find new ways of getting the best from their athletes. All in all there were a lot of positives to take away from our visit.”