The construction of ice-based sports facilities in Nigeria has begun in Calabar, the capital of the Cross River State, Nigeria. This was announced by Mr. Daniel Damola, the President of Nigeria Curling Federation (NCF).
Damola said that the project has already begun with the clearing works and fencing of the site where the facility will be erected. The entire project is expected to be completed by December next year.
Upon completion, the facility will have two ice facilities. One for curling-a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice toward a target area that is segmented into four concentric circles- and the other one for other ice-related sports such as ice skating, figure skating, ice hockey, etc. It will also have restaurants, bars, shopping centers, a gym, conference rooms, and a training center.
The aim is to enable the sport to be played locally in the country so as to help the Nigeria Curling Federation to cut travel costs at all times for ice training. Furthermore, the NCF president hopes that this will help introduce the game of curling to other African countries.
Currently, Nigeria is the only curling nation in Africa with 55 professional players and 900 registered nationwide. The country became a Member of the Association of the World Curling Federation (WCF) in 2018 and has since grown to compete in major international events such as the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships and the World Mixed Doubles Championship where it made history in 2019 by becoming the first African nation to win a world curling game in an 8-5 defeat of France.
Other than developing the sport in Nigeria and Africa at large, the project is also expected to draw more tourists to Cross River State, which is regarded as the tourism capital of the West African country.