In keeping with a promise it made in 2021, the Japanese government on Wednesday donated judo equipment to the Lagos State Judo Association (LSJA).
While presenting the first set of equipment at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Rowe Park, Yaba, Japan’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi said his country was ready to raise the profile of judo in Nigeria, adding that Lagos, which he described as a sports-loving state, will continue to benefit from the Japanese government’s gesture.
He praised LSJA President Sheriff Hammed, whose vision and passion he said brought a boost to judo in the state.
Kazuyoshi said the donation would be an ongoing gesture to improve the fortunes of sports in the state.
“I’m happy to be here because what we’re doing today is delivering on the promise I made in September 2021, when I pledged to support the state with material. Fortunately, when I went back to Japan, I was able to talk to an NGO in Japan who are willing to donate judo equipment and this is only the first equipment.
We believe this will be an ongoing partnership that will help teach athletes the virtues of respect, rule of law, discipline and diligence, which are part of democracy and economic development.
“Some of the things I know now are what I learned while doing judo. So judo is more than a sporting activity, but it’s an art that can help shape someone’s life. one,” he said.
He said the donation was also part of sports diplomacy between Nigeria and Japan, while assuring the state of greater support for other sports.
In response, LSJA President Hammed said the Japanese government’s gesture would help increase the popularity of judo and encourage more people to take up the sport.
He, however, called on the Japanese government to help rehabilitate their judo hall at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Complex in Rowe Park to inspire more athletes and create an environment for the sport to flourish.
Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) Chief Executive Officer, Oluwatoyin Gafar, who was represented at the event by LSSC Director of Sports Development, Moses Kolawole, thanked the Japanese government for its generosity, while promising that the equipment would be put to good use for married world drummers in the sport.