By Babatunde Ogunrinde
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the reception was held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Saturday.
The Lagos State contingent dominated the boxing event at the sports festival, winning five gold, two silver and one bronze medals.
The victorious boxers are Osoba Abdul-Afeez (team captain), Shittu Afolabi, Dolapo Omole, Olamide Mustapha and Adesodun Michael.
Others are Blessing Oraekwe, Fatima Aronkomola and Gabriel Francis.
Speaking at the reception, Jenkins Alumona, Chairman of LSBA, congratulated the boxers for putting up a spectacular show and towering above their counterparts from other states.
He commended the boxers for being professional, and representing the state in shining colours throughout the festival.
He also lauded the team’s Head Coach, Waidi Sobaloju, and the other coaches for preparing the boxers to success in spite of numerous challenges.
Alumona disclosed that LSBA was collaborating with the Lagos State Sports Commission to draw up a plan to keep the state boxers engaged every month.
“What you boxers have done is to set the ball rolling.
“Working with the sports commission, our plan is to change the face of boxing in the state.
“We are blessed to have a very strong board; its members have shown that they are a team of action, alongside the sports commission.
“Moving forward, one thing I can promise you is that we are not going to be waiting for sports festivals before we take action.
“The technical and planning committee of the board has sent a proposal to the Sports Commission. Once it is approved, there is no month you won’t be doing something.
“As our boxers, we want you to know that we are working very hard for you because you have shown us that with support, you can do very well,”Alumona said.
Alumona, however, tasked the boxers to match the action of the administrators by remaining professional and conduct themselves well at all times.
Also speaking, Sola Aiyepku, Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, lauded the boxers for their performance at the festival.
He also congratulated the coaches and the LSBA for ensuring they prepared the boxing team adequately for the event.
Aiyepku also disclosed that the commission was already planning for the next sports festival scheduled to hold next year in Delta.
“Edo wasn’t easy, we know the circumstances leading to your departure and we all know what happened, but you all did well.
“With what the chairman has told me, when we go with our full house next year, we will double this year’s feat. So, we are planning for next year already.
“After you have done well for the state, you are still going to do well for the country. By God’s grace, those of you who want to become professional boxers will get our support,” he said.
Aiyepku also reaffirmed Alumona’s statement that the LSBA had submitted its plans to the commission and lauded the board for being visionary, describing that as “fantastic”.
He pledged the commission’s support for the association to achieve its objective of improving the fortunes of boxing, and announced that the commission had granted a space to the boxing board for the development of a gym and training centre.
“The chairman has already mentioned the space that we have given.
“So many people have come to ask me why we have given boxing a space, but the truth is we are proud of the plans that the board has always put together.
“We are determined to support it to make sure that we record good success,” Aiyekpu said.
The sports commission boss also encouraged boxers not picked for the sports festival due to paucity of slots, not to feel disheartened.
“I will advise them to train properly and make themselves available for selection,” he said.
Osoba Abdul-Afeez, captain of the Lagos boxing team, in a remark, thanked the LSBA for organising the training camp where boxers prepared for the games.
“The quality of the preparations helped us to triumph and conquer our opponents at the festival,” he said. (NAN)
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