National Sports Festival record holder in the 50 metres butterfly, Nmor Ifeakachukwu, says he hopes to finish high in the event at the ongoing National Sports Festival in Benin City, Edo State.
Ifeakachukwu, who, on Monday, retained the gold medal in the 50 metres butterfly event, which he first won at the 2018 National Sports Festival in Abuja with a festival record, told The Guardian that despite missing the podium in the men’s 200m freestyle due to a personal mistake, he would not relent in his efforts at winning more medals at this year’s festival.
The swimmer, who also led Delta State to win the 4×200 freestyle men relay team event, disclosed that Delta State had been dominant in swimming saying: “We have invested heavily in athletes and facilities. We have a competitive advantage over others because of our training schedules, which culminated in the number of swimmers Delta State has produced over the years.
“Swimming is predominantly in the South-South region and Delta State happens to be the champion on many occasions. As an Accountant, this is what I call a return of investment. This is because the propensity with which Delta State is investing in swimming and in other sports, in general, is something that should yield proper returns. And that has been what has kept us going.”
Looking beyond the Nigerian scene, the final year student of accounting at the University of Port Harcourt, said: “With my experience in swimming, I think I should be competing at the world level. I have the ambition to compete at the Olympics some day. But unfortunately, swimming is not among the sport’s government shortlisted for the Olympics. “I am hoping that if swimming is considered as one of the sports that the country will be competing in at the Olympics, I know by the grace of God I will be part of the contingent to represent the country,” he said.
Commending the legacies set by his predecessors in the sport, he said: “I met my predecessors keeping to the target set for them by the state in the swimming event. And I have also been telling the upcoming swimmers to keep the flag flying and never relent in maintaining the standard and also work harder to achieve as much as we have done.
“Delta State has never been behind at any of the National Sports Festival in the swimming event and we must follow the footsteps set by our predecessors. Just as they left, we too will leave someday because we won’t be there forever. William Shakespeare said, ‘at every point in time you make your entry and at the other end is your exit’.”