Paralympic Games: Athletes crave training tour abroad


Nigerian athletes currently in camp ahead of the Paralympic Games scheduled to hold in Rio, Brazil, have appealed to the Sports Ministry to make funds available for their training tour of Europe before September.
Speaking on behalf of the athletes, Samuel Ekeoma, an official in the Team Nigeria camp, told The Point that the athletes would be well prepared for the games if only they could embark on a training tour of Europe.
He said most of the athletes were new and they would require international exposure to perform beyond the expectations of Nigerians who had been following Powerlifting events globally.
The former technical director of the Federation said since most of the reliable athletes had retired, there was need to raise another set of world-class athletes who would shake the world in Rio.
Ekeoma said Nigerian Powerlifters had made laudable impact in the world and Paralympic events. He said most of the retired athletes left with their records intact.
“No one is disputing the fact that disabled athletes always make Nigeria proud during the Paralympic Games, but the Sports Ministry need to invest more in the athletes’ preparation for the Games and I think that going on a training tour would make a difference,” he said.
Ekeoma, who is now the president of Parabadminton Federation of Nigeria, said it was high time the Sports Ministry to came to their aid.
Speaking about the atmosphere in the Abuja camp, he said they had nine female and seven male lifters warming up for the games.
“Our worries are that the athletes are emotionally demoralised, owing to no training tour abroad. Though, the Sports Ministry is working hard to ensure that our athletes are well exposed to foreign training before the Paralympic Games in September,” he stressed.
However, to ensure maximum concentration that would foster better performance, the Parapowerlifting Federation of Nigeria has divided the team into two groups (male and female). Each is managed by a different coaching crew as it is with the football teams such as Super Eagles and Super Falcons. Four coaches are in camp now.
The female team has Igbiti Patience and Luke Ibe, while the male team is coached by Aare Feyisetan and Kemi Oyebola.