September 19, 2020

Stakeholders Call for Special Policy on Athletes Living with Disabilities

Stakeholders have advocated special policy to care for athletes living with disabilities for them to continue to give their best to the nation and also have something tangible to fall back on when out of service.

Sports reporter, Isaac Afolabi in Akure completes the report.

No doubt, special athletes in Nigeria have brought laurels to the country in several sporting events and have uniquely done the country proud even in global competitions where able-bodied athletes failed to make impacts.

It is, however, a thing of concern for the athletes who had suffered many physical and psychological challenges such as discrimination, poor welfare and lack of first-hand sporting equipment for training.

Many of the athletes have embarked on protests to draw attention to their predicament but with no significant result.

Speaking with Radio Nigeria, a former president Para-Swimming Federation, Chief Sylvester Ikuejamoye said special athletes deserved special attention for their sacrifice for the county.

A para-athlete coach Mr Gboye Omodosun called for special training and vocational training for such athletes so that they would have something to fall back on after training and retirement.

Coach Gboye Omodosun further appealed to governments and philanthropists to sponsor competitions to keep them healthy and procure good equipment for them insisting that the para-athletes had always been excelling in international games for the country.

Also speaking on the plights of persons living with disabilities in sports, a table tennis player at the Ondo State Sports Complex, Mr Kazeem Olarewaju, said some of the challenges faced by sportsmen and women included poor equipment, health facilities, poor remuneration and lack of scholarship for those with passion for academics.

He too appealed for a medical plan for special athletes and called on government at all levels philanthropists and multinational companies to sponsor training and give out loans to those who have paid their dues for the nation

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Oriola Afolabi

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